Exposure to new experiences and different people is a big reason to join UIL. Competing at UIL State is a significant accomplishment for freshman Desiree Pena. The UIL States offered Pena a chance to socialize while doing an event she loves.

“I think maybe my goal would be to continue going to state in UIL every year,” Pena said. “With my current coaches, I think it’s possible to go every year, and that’s my goal.”

Pena has put time and effort into her UIL events science, calculators, and literary criticisms. She started UIL back in third grade on a whim when a teacher encouraged her to join. Pena began to participate in the math events and noticed how good her skills were when she started placing.

“Math was always my strong point until middle school when I joined science,” Pena said. “My teacher asked me to join, and then last year, I did well in science and ended up qualifying for state.”

Pena’s experience at the state was filled with meeting new people and doing something she liked: science. From making friends with her roommate to talking to students from other schools, this experience was filled with lasting memories.

“I will never forget my roommate,” Pena said. “We seem like complete opposites on the outside, but we started talking and quickly became friends.”

Pena qualified for UIL State this year and went on to compete at a University in San Antonio.

A big part of UIL is encouraging students to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to offer memorable experiences. Pena started competing for fun and was able to compete at UIL State. Everyone should be encouraged to join and find an event they think is fun.

I am a 17-year-old reporter at Jimmy Carter Early College High School. I am a part of the La Joya High School Jewelette Drill Team. My favorite subject is math, and I hope to become an engineer in the future. Go RedWolves!!