by: Zoey Lynn
Texas UIL Region 4 has a new champion in Headline writing. On Saturday April 14, junior Reagan Rodgers secured a shot for the State Champion title after taking first place in Headlines writing at the Region conference held at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“I was in absolute shock when I got first,” Rodgers said. “I could not breathe for a solid ten minutes, and I felt like everything I’ve been working for the last three years finally paid off. Watching my Executive Editor, Zoey Lynn, and my advisor, Pumphrey, cry in excitement for me made me realize how big of a deal what I had done was.”
Rodgers was the district 26 Champion in the event, and helped secure her team the award of first place journalism team before heading to Region.
Rodgers is the Editor-in-Chief of the Cricket Chirps newspaper and has dedicated a lot of time to the production of quality student news.
“It’s been weird being the person in the news story this time,” Rodgers said. “I’ve spent three years writing stories about the accomplishments of others, and now it’s about me, which is pretty cool.”
Reagan will continue on to compete at the State competition in May and will be accompanied by fellow Matador Journalism student, sophomore Emilie Weber who placed second in Prose as a member of the Speech and Debate team.
“I probably rehearsed my pieces over a hundred times each,” Weber said. “Between the tweaks we made and trying to make everything polished that’s how much work it takes. Even though it’s my first year competing, I treat it very seriously, and want to do the best I can.”
Weber and Rodgers are both coached by Lizz Pumphrey who teaches journalism and debate. This was her first time having state qualifiers in any UIL event.
“When I realized Emilie was going to state, I was beyond excited,” Pumphrey said. “It’s my first year coaching speech and debate, so I definitely didn’t expect it. Then when Reagan won, I started crying. In five years of coaching UIL journalism, I haven’t had anyone even place and now I have two State qualifiers in two events. It’s a testament to how amazing these ladies are and how hard they work.”
With the first day of State contest mere weeks away, the ladies have high hopes of bringing home the gold for the Matadors and their teammates in classroom D106.
“If I placed at State, I would feel as if I’ve gone above and beyond,” Weber said. “Even making it to State is amazing, but actually placing would be so empowering.”
Rodgers will compete on May 4 at UT Austin for her shot, with Weber following behind on May 21.