There’s no stopping a group of sharp and talented Bulldogs from New Waverly High School. Eleven students recently competed at the UIL Class 3A Region III meet at Blinn College in Brenham, with eight qualifying to compete against the best of the best at the state competition in Austin this weekend.
Patrick Shevlin’s social studies team and Janna Burzynski’s calculator team will be representing New Waverly High School after earning first-place prizes at the regional meet. Also representing NWHS individually is Sky Sherwin in math, Katie Cones for literary criticism and Shelby Lepley for ready writing.
“We are thrilled for our students to have this opportunity. They have worked so hard, and each year they have taken another step towards becoming a state champion,” New Waverly ISD Superintendent Darol Hail said. “These students are great students who have put in so much time to reach this level of success.
“What’s even more amazing is that they all are active in other areas as well. So many of them spend their time preparing for academics while coming back from a competition in some other area. We are very proud of them and their sponsors and coaches who spend so much time with them. This has been an amazing year of success for the students of New Waverly.”
Shevlin’s team of Shelby Schulte, Braylen Laymon, Reagan Tremie and Realynn Nixon have worked relentlessly all school year to prepare for the UIL competition. Beginning last summer, the team began reading the assigned 500-page book on the life of James Madison, as well as studying more than 50 court cases and the U.S. Constitution.
The students used every opportunity they could during the school day to work together, as well as taking on individual responsibilities to learn the necessary material.
“This is our third year to make it to state and it is a phenomenal achievement. They studied hundreds of hours to be able to win this event,” Shevlin said. “They read through the book two or three times, we made study questions for every chapter and memorized the court cases down to the tiniest details. It was very detailed knowledge and in-depth studying.”
Only the top team advanced to the state competition. In order to earn that top spot, each member had to score high on their individual tests. From there, the top three highest scores from each team were added together for an overall score.
New Waverly scored 164 points altogether, which was 27 points higher than the second-place team.
“Each student can make up to 100 points on the test, but it is normal for a student to make a 50 or 60,” Shevlin said. “The test is somewhat designed to be almost impossible to score 100 points. Scoring what we did is pretty high, the students scored very strongly.”
Janna Burzynski’s calculator team made up of Brianna Burzynski, Zoe Cruzanaya, Colton Henderson and Cade Edney also went above and beyond to prepare for their respective competition, which entailed a 30-minute test with 70 math problems.
“They have worked really hard individually and as a team by teaching each other the material. They are very driven and work very well as a team,” Burzynski said. “The older students took the younger students on the team under their wing and taught them upper-level math they haven’t learned in their classes yet. It’s a very promising group. They beat out all of these other teams to get there and that is a major accomplishment.”
Burzynski says unlike past years, the students did not have to clear their calculators of any pre-installed programs and were able to use two different calculators. Since February, the students worked on developing and installing their own programs into the calculators and working on efficiently using them.
“They have really worked hard on writing the programs,” Burzynski said. “So when they see a problem they can pull a specific program up in their calculators and input that information and it will put out the answer for them. They have written those programs themselves, they are all pretty phenomenal students.”