PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

April 11, 2011

PN-G academic team works to continue string of victories

Janis Ryan
The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — The mantra among the members of the Port Neches-Groves UIL Academic team over the last few months has been “11 straight in 2011.”

After racking up 493 Points over two days during the district competition at Nederland High School on April 1-2, the PN-G academicians handed  Steve Comer his 11th consecutive District Sweepstakes trophy in what will be the final year of his 42-year run as an educator, and as PN-G’s UIL Academic coordinator.

“I was asked to be the coordinator at the beginning of the 2000-01 school year,” Comer explained.  “At the time, I did not realize how much time the coordinator position would entail. Many hours were spent organizing meets, ordering supplies, and learning about 22 different events offered through UIL Academics.”

The PN-G contingent outscored the second-place team from Nederland by a total of 260 points. In all, 32 students qualified to advance to the regional round of competition, scheduled for April 15-16 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. A student must place in the top three at the district meet in order to be a regional qualifier.

“This is the second highest number of students representing PN-G at the Regional level,” Comer said. “For many of these students, this is their second or even third year of advancing. Hopefully, several of these students will qualify for the State Meet in Austin.”

Winning gold medals were Sabah Adaya (Spelling and Vocabulary), Seth Beaugh (Literary Criticism), Emily Bolyard (Feature Writing), Carl McClain (Current Issues and Events), and Karly Summerlin (Mathematics, Number Sense).

Silver medals went to Jeremy Binagia (Calculator Applications, Number Sense), Hiray Adaya (Spelling and Vocabulary), Carlos Caballero (Current Issues and Events), Dara Floyd (Editorial Writing), Seth Hammons (Feature Writing), Carl McClain (Informative Speaking), Andrew Parks (Mathematics), Luke Runte (Literary Criticism), Matthew Talton (Prose Interpretation), and Maegan Ware (Headline Writing).

Students qualifying for regionals with bronze medals include  Jeremy Binagia (Mathematics), Michael Bourne (Number Sense), Karli Bowman (Computer Applications), Kevin Franklin (Ready Writing), Ali Kerai (Accounting), Andrew Parks (Current Issues and Events), Jillee Sexton (Social Studies), Karly Summerlin (Calculator Applications), and Maegan Ware (Editorial Writing, News Writing).

In addition to individual medals, top team awards were also recognized. The Spelling, Literary Criticism, Calculator Applications, Mathematics, Number Sense, Current Issues and Events, and Journalism teams all took first place, adding to PN-G’s overall point total. In addition, the members of each of the first-place teams also qualify to compete at the next level.

The team members who will also be competing in Huntsville include Ravali Polavarapu (Spelling and Vocabulary), John Petersberger (Current Issues and Events), Andrew Todd (Calculator Applications, Mathematics), and Bo Yoo (Literary Criticism).

Students placing fourth are alternates to the regional meet. They include Caleb Avila (Informative Speaking), Ashlyn Berwick (Prose Interpretation), Danette Higginbotham (Computer Applications), Bryan Johnson (Ready Writing), and Bo Yoo (Literary Criticism).

Other students who scored points for PN-G at the meet include Austin Campbell (second-place Accounting team), Marley Graham (fifth place Poetry Interpretation), Sani Habib (second-place Accounting team), Adelina LeBlanc (fifth place Poetry Interpretation), Jeremy Binagia (fifth place Science, second-place Science team), Dara Floyd (sixth place Headline Writing), Kevin Franklin (sixth place Science, second-place Science team), Laura Knowles (fifth place Computer Applicatons), Ravali Polavarapu (fifth place Spelling and Plain Writing), Andrew Todd (sixth place Calculator Applications, fifth place Mathematics, second-place Science team), Maegan Ware (sixth place Feature Writing), and Bo Yoo (fifth place Social Studies)

Comer said he is both happy and sad to see his tenure with the academic group come to an end.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being the Academic Coordinator,” he said. “I have been very blessed working with  dedicated sponsors and students and am very appreciative for that dedication and commitment. I would also like to thank the administration and other faculty members for their support of the UIL Academics program.”