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Release date: October 1

Wayland students, faculty participate in UIL event

TA Wayland faculty member and two students were featured at the UIL Superconference held Saturday at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The event is one of four held around the state and had about 500 students in attendance.

Virginia Myers "This is a program UIL has to train teachers and high school students in the academic events for interscholastic league competition," said Virginia Myers, associate professor of speech communication at Wayland and chair of the speech department. "These events includes speech, journalism and some theatre."

During the conference, Myers directed a session dealing with a new prose category titled "first-person narrative," a competition for performing letters, diaries, journals, memoirs and essays. Myers said her session explained how students could select material, research it and interpret it for the competition.

Two of Myers' students, Josh Davis and Latasha Miller, performed during the conference's "Performance Hour" in which students demonstrated technique and were critiqued by judges as examples to high schoolers in attendance.

Davis, a sophomore from Whiteface, performed a scene from the memoirs of journalist Rick Bragg titled "All Over But the Shoutin'." Miller, a junior from El Paso, performed a scene from the Newberry-winning novel "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred Taylor.

Myers said the students' participation came at the request of Jana Riggins, assistant director of UIL in charge of speech and debate. The opportunity to showcase student work, Myers said, was exciting and gave Wayland a chance to show off its growing speech program.

"I think the real benefit for the students is that they can extend and apply the skills they learn in our classes, and that's kind of the point. We want them to be able to apply those skills in the real world," Myers said. "A lot of excitement has been generated by the fact that we have a new speech major and have strengthened the minor."

Myers said her students are planning more community and service-oriented projects for the coming year, with possibilities for a reader's theatre production. Many students already participate in judging teams for UIL speech events around the area, covering elementary through high school level competition. Myers hosts several training events during the year to prepare students to serve as judges and several districts repeatedly call on Wayland teams for their judging needs.