UIL leaves students saying IOU

Laura Sirrianni

With all of the various sports, clubs, and programs practiced throughout CPHS, many students take advantage of the opportunity to get involved. These activities, although beneficial in many ways, can become very time consuming for students in preparation for their various competitions or exhibitions ahead. Not only is time required outside of school, but certain activities cut into class time as well, pulling students out of classes to participate in extracurriculars.

These activities, often in sports, music, and academic subcategories, are generally part of the University Interscholastic League, or UIL.  This organization was formed to allow Texas students to participate in fair, educationally stimulating contests, ultimately preparing them for the duties of becoming an average citizen in society. Although their various services are set to help carry out constructive, fair activities, they can put some students into an academically stressful bind. UIL has many of their activities set up in advanced. With all of these activities, many of the planned events fall on school days, pulling students out of their classes with an excused absence.

Although students are notified of the days they will miss before the event so they have time to catch up on schoolwork, many still feel stressed about their grades. Even though some teachers give those leaving classes materials to work on, it still becomes a challenge to get all of the extra work done. Many students fall behind due to the overload, often times becoming overwhelmed by the tedious process of getting all of their work completed. Missing classes also brings a new challenge to the academics as well as the covered material; students will not get the full benefit of a lesson taught in a classroom, therefore giving them a disadvantage compared to the students present in the class.

“[Missing school] makes classes more difficult because I feel so behind,” Kristen Threlkeld, junior said. “Some teachers expect us to know what we’re doing when we come back to school, but other teachers are more understanding of our situation and help us. Some teachers expect you to turn in all your work the day you get back, but when you miss school [you’re] constantly busy so it’s just hard finding time to do the work.”

Since class periods are lengthy, many times it becomes hard for a student missing class to catch up on an entire lesson, therefore many of the classes require self-teaching for lost time.  Also, due to the pre-arrangement of the absence, many teachers do not extend deadlines as they would for other absences.  These factors make it even more difficult for many students to get back on track and feel up to speed

“All [of the homework] piles up so much that it’s extremely stressful and causes me to fall behind sometimes,” Gaby Aguliar, sophomore said.

The number of absences in classes due to UIL activities affects more than the students themselves. Teachers have to be prepared with missing work and notifications for students missing during class and anticipate questions when they return. It can also mess up the environment in some classes, forcing teachers to adjust their agendas to run the class with students missing.

“It makes [class] difficult to do anything that involves peers [working together],” Shelley Bramlett, English III teacher, said. “There’s always a segment of the class trying to catch up.”

Some students, however, are less worried about missing academic school days for other activities. Many take advantage of the tutoring opportunities teachers offer to learn their class’ material, practice work to check for understanding, and get help from other peers to become comfortable with the curriculum.

“[Missing school] doesn’t really affect me all that much,” Sean Knight, junior said. “I just get my homework early and do it before it’s due. If I don’t understand it, I go to tutorials. It’s not that bad.”

Even though UIL activities are beneficial to a student and a team, the absence from the player’s school day are tough obstacles. While necessary in the pursuit of various extracurriculars, more and more people are asking if all of these UIL events and competitions must be scheduled during the school day or is there another way?