MACademics team defends District 24-5A title

With team titles in speech, journalism, spelling and current events, McCallum increases its winning overall point total from a year ago by nearly 40 points
Members of the speech and debate team pose proudly with the first place team plaques for speech for spelling and vocabulary. On Saturday, the final day of the academic meet at Eastside, McCallum won both team competitions to finish with 563 points, more than enough for the team to defend the overall academic district title it won a year ago.
Members of the speech and debate team pose proudly with the first place team plaques for speech for spelling and vocabulary. On Saturday, the final day of the academic meet at Eastside, McCallum won both team competitions to finish with 563 points, more than enough for the team to defend the overall academic district title it won a year ago.
Dave Winter

All results from this past week’s UIL District 24-5A Academic Meet are in, and we can now report conclusively that the 2024 MACademics team not only matched last year’s historic result, it exceeded it. McCallum repeated as overall district academic champions and as journalism champions, but the school also won the speech team title.

Just after they finished presenting the daily agenda to the eighth-period newspaper class, the four Shield co-editors in chief pose for a group photo with the trophy for the overall District 24-5A academic title they helped the school win. All four EICs placed and qualified for region in at least two journalism events: Ingrid Smith (copy editing, news writing), Francie Wilhelm (news writing, headline writing), Alice Scott (feature writing, editorial writing, headline writing) and Lanie Sepehri (copy editing, feature writing, editorial writing). (Dave Winter)

MAC won the overall title by winning the highest number of individual and team sweepstakes points. McCallum earned 563 points, ahead of second-place Ann Richards (322) and third-place Crockett (209). LASA (174), LBJ (119) and Navarro (116) placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

A year ago, McCallum’s winning point total was 523.5 points. The speech and debate team made this year’s overall improvement possible. McCallum won the speech team title with a total of 126 points in speech events, ahead of second-place LBJ (70) and third-place Ann Richards (65). Crockett and LASA tied for fourth with 20 points.

The Shield staff captured the journalism team title after earning 183 points, ahead of second-place Crockett (52) and third-place Ann Richards (30).

In the other team competitions, McCallum placed first in current issues and events and in spelling and vocabulary, second in mathematics and number sense and third in science.

McCallum placed three competitors in the prose and poetry interpretation events on Friday at the district academic meet at Eastside. Senior Willem Zuniga (right) placed second in prose interpretation, and his teammate sophomore Noble Pierce (not pictured) placed fifth. Sophomore Chim Becker (left) placed third in poetry interpretation. All three earned sweepstakes points for McCallum, and Zuniga and Becker are now qualified for the UIL 5A Region 3 Academic Meet in Fulshear later this month. Photos by Cilley Pham.

Crockett won first place in accounting and fourth in science. LASA won first place in computer science and mathematics and second in science. Navarro earned first place in calculator applications and number sense, second in current issues and events and in spelling and vocabulary and third in mathematics; Ann Richards finished first in science and second in calculator applications.

A first-place team finish earns a school 10 points and all of its competitors qualify for region. A second-place team finish earns five.
For individual events, a first-place finish earns 15 sweepstakes points; a second-place, 12; a third-place, 10; a fourth-place, eight; a fifth-place, six; and a sixth-place, four; If a competitor places in the top three individually, they qualify for the UIL Region 3 Academic Meet, which will be at Fulshear High School outside Houston April 26-27.

UIL District Results

Calculator Applications

Camilla Vandegrift, third


Computer Science

Felix Murdock, fourth


Sophomore Knox Williams and coach Vaughn Stockton pose with the team plaque and individual medals on Saturday afternoon, the day after McCallum swept the UIL District 24-5A team competition in current events on Friday afternoon at Eastside Early College High School. The three person team of junior Mac Lopez, Williams and senior Lucy Kuhn won first, second and third in the event. All three competitors—Lopez (68), Williams (67) and Kuhn (65)—scored in the high 60s after doing well on the multiple-choice test and free-response essay that make up the two parts of the competition. After earning the top three spots in the event, Lopez, Williams and Kuhn have qualified for the UIL 5A Region 3 Academic Meet Saturday April 27 at Fulshear High School outside Houston. Williams followed that result up with a first-place finish in persuasive speaking on Saturday, which qualified him for region in a second academic event. Photo by Dave Winter.

Current Events

Mac Lopez, first

Knox Williams, second

Lucy Kuhn, third

Team, first


Informative Speaking

Knox Williams, first

Caroline Bell, second

Jack Formby, sixth


Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Shayla Allen, first

Mia Foster, fifth

Jack Formby, ninth



Hazel Reddy, fourth (tie)

Shoshanna Witchel, fourth (tie)

Caroline Bell, eighth

Elizabeth Nation, ninth

Teddy Smith, 11th

Team, second


Number Sense

Camilla Vandegrift, first

Hazel Reddy, seventh

Katie Wiseman, eighth

Shoshanna Witchel, ninth

Caroline Bell, 13th

Team, second

Senior Alice Scott and junior Noah Braun find the zone to crank out region-qualifying editorials during the UIL district journalism competition at Eastside on Tuesday April 2. Scott placed first and Braun third. Along with senior Lanie Sepehri who placed second, the trio swept the three region-qualifying spots and earned a total of 37 points for their team. McCallum scored 183 points in the five journalism events. The highest a single school can score in the journalism competition is 185. Photo by Dave Winter.


Persuasive Speaking

Henry Holmes, second

Fiona Arthur, third

Jesse Silverman, fourth



Charlotte Becker, third



Willem Zuniga, second

Noble Pierce, fifth


Ready Writing

JoJo Barnard, first

Sofia Saucedo, second

Mira Patel, fifth


After a frustrating Friday where she had byes and did not get a chance to debate, freshman Shayla Allen rebounded Saturday by going undefeated en route to a district title in Lincoln Douglas debate. With strong showings in informative and persuasive speaking on Saturday to go along with Friday’s results in prose and poetry interpretation, McCallum won the speech team title, helping the academic team improve its point total from last year’s district title-winning team. Photo by Cilley Phan.


Hazel Reddy, third

Felix Murdock, seventh

Shoshanna Witchel, 10th

Team, third

Felix Murdock earned the second highest score in the physics portion of the science test, which makes him an alternate for regionals.


Social Studies

Wilson Corbitt, sixth



Kalliope Haltom, first

Violet Gill, second

Gaby Alvarado, fifth

Greta Wayman, seventh

Cilley Phan, eighth

Audrey Stanford, 11th

Team, first



Copy editing

Ingrid Smith, first

Lanie Sepehri, second

JoJo Barnard, fourth


Chim Becker receives her third-place medal in poetry interp from Eastside tournament host Greg Freeman on Friday afternoon at the District 24-5A Academic Meet. (Cilley Phan)

News writing

Ingrid Smith, first

Francie Wilhelm, second

Chloe Lewcock, third


Feature writing

Camilla Vandegrift, first

Lanie Sepehri, second

Alice Scott, third


Editorial writing

Alice Scott, first

Lanie Sepehri, second

Noah Braun, third


Headline writing

Franice Wilhelm, first

Alice Scott, second

JoJo Barnard, third

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