History of Gunter UIL Academics

Competition is more than just athletic, it’s academic!

The seeds of UIL Academics were planted in Gunter ISD by the much-loved and respected teacher, Pauline Autry, when for the first time, students could compete not only athletically, but academically as well. Autry was known for requiring her students to practice many hours, but at the same time making it enjoyable, even bringing cinnamon rolls and slushy punch for all to enjoy. “The Chart” was also proudly displayed in the school’s study hall, where Autry faithfully updated the accomplishments of UIL students for years to come. UIL Academics were created in Gunter for the purpose of bettering student’s education and providing them with yet another outlet of competition. Just as the tradition of excellence and winning standards were set in athletics, academics soon followed suit as many individuals began to advance to regionals and state competitions.


UIL Academics truly are advantageous in many ways, and they have continually enlightened the students participating in them throughout its history. By competing in UIL Academics, students are more likely to be chosen when applying to college or scholarships. Not only do UIL Academics improve students’ knowledge, it builds irreplaceable friendships and lasting memories between the competitors of the team. “UIL was so much hard work–but I didn’t realize until many years later when I was coaching my own UIL students that Mrs. Autry was working twice as hard as we did as students.  She EXPECTED us to succeed and had so much pride in her kids,” stated one of Mrs. Autry’s students, Mary Day, who also went on to become a UIL sponsor. Another one of Mrs. Autry’s former UIL students, Bonnie Holcomb (Stafford), remembers fondly that, “Mrs. Autry had more confidence in us than we had in ourselves–and then she expected us to live up to what she expected of us.”


From then until now, UIL has grown along with this 21st century modern age. During Mrs. Martindale’s sponsorship, the competitors had to study at Grayson County College and in the Austin College library, until the use of computers in 2000 became a popular tool. Derek Hall, a competitive member of UIL from 2011-2015, competed in not just one, but four UIL events. Derek stated, “Competition was always very exciting,” and he added, “participating in UIL is very different from what you learn in school, we received our own personal laptops to use.” Though the difference between past and present events are great, we can’t forget about the similarities. The sponsors, or coaches as they preferred to be called, offer their free time to teach the competitors, without pay, and sometimes even give up their Saturdays! UIL coaches take just as much pride in their teams as do athletic coaches. Mrs. Martindale, a coach of UIL for twelve years, stated that she,  “loved sponsoring in some shape or form.” One of the reasons she wanted to sponsor was that she loved how her team worked hard through stressful study sessions and rough competitions, all the while being successful. The past and present UIL events have changed, but there’s one common link throughout both: UIL has been beneficial to all who have competed.

2014-2015 Math Team

Notable Alumni
Norman Trinh Prose Interpretation State Champion 2002
Blaine LaBron CX Debate State Champion 2002
Michael Morelli Informative Speaking Placed 3rd at State 2002
CX Debate State Champion 2002
Lydia Jennings Persuasive Speaking Placed 3rd at State 2002
Derek Hall Science Individual Placed 2nd at State 2012 and Regionals all four years of competition
Math Team Attended Regionals all four years of competition
Liz Jang CX Debate Placed in Regionals and State
Literary Criticism Regionals
Cross X State
Branda McEwen Headline Writing Regionals and State
Editorial Writing Regionals
Spelling Regionals
Erin Martindale CX Debate Advanced to State 3 years
News Writing Regionals
Feature Writing Regionals
Jennifer Horan CX Debate Advanced to State 2 years
Amy Kemp Writing Event State
Marshall Anderson Slide Rule State Champion 1960
Bonnie Holcomb Shorthand Writing State Champion 1976
Dara Reed Typing State Champion 1980
Randall Reed Typing State Champion 1989
Mary Westman Slide Rule/Shortand Regionals
Rhynda Lewis Shorthand Regionals
Dennis Garner Prose Regionals
Lynda Bledsoe Shorthand Regionals
Sandra Graham Slide Rule Regionals
Nancy Wilsford Number Sense Regionals


Gayle Banner Sponsor for the school and coached math.
Leah Martaindale Started with coaching debate then went on to coach even more events.
Terisa O’Dowd Sponsored news writing events.
Diane Allen Sponsored math team.
Dawna Uselton Sponsored Computer/Business
Cynthia Foster Sponsored Computer Applications 2007-Present
Sponsored Current Events Duration: 3 years
Sponsored CX Debate 2012
Leslie Hindman Sponsors Math Team Present
Jeanne Curbow Sponsors Math Team Present
Sponsors Number Sense Present
Sponsors Calculator Applications Present

Written by:

Samantha Hawk – 11th grade
Destiny Caperton – 11th grade
Sydney Morrison – 11th grade




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