A winning tradition: Coakley named District Champion for 40th year



The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District has academic talent and a lot of it.

Middle school students brought their creative and critical minds forward at the annual District UIL Academic Competition held January 8-9.

Middle schools from Harlingen, San Benito, and Los Fresnos competed in events such as prose and poetry interpretation, spelling, science, social studies, number sense, and more. While many talented students from eleven different campuses competed, Coakley Middle School dominated, bringing home the district championship for the 40th year.

“A most sincere congratulations to our Coakley Middle School UIL Academic team for their 40th year in a row as District Championship,” said Pedro Sanchez, Coakley Principal. “We are so proud of you and appreciative that you have brought such great honor to our school. The hard work, dedication, and commitment from our teachers and students is a true example of excellence.”

How does one school in a pool of other excellent middle schools win year after year? The formula is simple — students practice, practice, practice. Then, they practice some more, never taking their past success for granted.

Beaming seventh-grade student Mia Castillo said, “Forty years! Wow! We have all worked super hard, and out of all the hard work, it has shown that we are ‘Simply the Best!’”

To maintain the winning streak, students encourage each other, improving with each practice and competition.

“We think of each other as a family,” said sixth-grade student Andrea Mendez.

According to Linda Lunsford, one of Coakley’s UIL coordinators, “The students believe in the UIL tradition at Coakley, and they take pride in continuing it and being a part of it. They work hard and practice hard so they can do their best at the district competition and hopefully win a district championship. It is important to them to continue that tradition that began forty years ago.”

Practice, improve, practice again—it’s a winning cycle.

The team is led by the following UIL coaches: Mark Oelerich, Linda Lunsford, Kelly Rodriguez, Mike Travis, Ed Longoria, Jeannette Cavazos, Kristen Helmsdoerfer, Alma Arenas, and Ronnie Gonzales.

Continue reading for a full list of students who contributed to the team’s success.

Events 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Dictionary Skills Matthew MelendezJayden MartinezEmma Sanchez Gabby PeraltaJustin Armstrong Megan AuneGabriella Perez
Listening Skills Celeste Acuna Emily BackorKylie FonsecaJoyce Macalling Adam ElizardeHelen Carter
Spelling Kylie Fonseca Emma McMinn
Science Ryne McMinn Justin Armstrong
Ready Writing Abbeny Solis Megan AuneKaila Martinez
Math Roj PawigJacob Rodriguez Catherine DuncanSiyan WangMegan Aune
Number Sense Jorge CisnerosSerenade Trevino Roj Pawig Siyan WangCatherine DuncanSophia Pearcy
Calculator Jorge Cisneros Roj Pawig Siyan WangManny GarciaJason Lin
Maps, Graphs, and Charts Roj PawigJustin ArmstrongAshley Young Catherine DuncanHannah Carney
Social Studies Ryne McMinn Michael GuadarramaEmma Gilbert Adam Elizarde
Impromptu Speaking Esmeralda TrevinoJoshua Rodriguez Daniel GarzaJacob Rodriguez Carli HerbertsonChristina Arellano
Solo Acting Evelyn HopkinsSerenade TrevinoRobert Pedraza Christina SylvesterAngela OrtizEmma Gilbert Kaila MartinezMaddie BorregoAbby Backor
Duet Acting Emma SanchezAlaya GarciaCeleste AcunaCamila SanchezKaitlyn CampbellLexi Gilbert Mia CastilloAndrea MendezKylie FonsecaRobert PedrazaJenna HardisonRebekah Sanchez Sophia PearcyMegan AuneHannah CarneySalome QuintanillaManny GarciaChristina Arellano
Prose Serenade TrevinoEvelyn HopkinsMariana Garcia Drake EverettChristina SylvesterRebekah Sanchez Julia CelisAllyah GuevaraKaila Martinez
Poetry Esmeralda TrevinoMariana Garcia Drake EverettEmma GilbertKylie Fonseca Abby BackorManny GarciaHannah Carney
Modern Oratory Joyce MacallingJoshua Rodriguez Daniel GarzaEmily Backor Salome QuintanillaCatherine DuncanCarli Herbertson
Spanish Poetry Celeste AcunaCamila Sanchez Daniel GarzaAngela Ortiz Salome QuintanillaAbby Backor


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