October 18, 2021
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  • 9:38 pm Mules head into off week looking to regroup
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By Gail M. Williams Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

The first place Muleshoe High School team in the Area 11 TACS Academic Challenge Competition won $2,250 in scholarship money to be shared. L to R: Mercy Manzanales, Joe Gutierrez and Elias Aguirre

Muleshoe High School students placed well at the recent Area 11 TACS Academic Challenge Competition. The first place team of Mercy Manzanales, Joe Gutierrez and Elias Aguirre won scholarship money in the amount of $2,250, which they will share as a team. “The money can be used at any college or university they choose to go to,” said team coordinator April Smith. “I’m very excited for them. The entire team consists of Alina Elizarrarez, Danielle Moran, Destiny Flores, Mercy Manzanales, Joe Gutierrez, Elias Aguirre and Dmetri Ramirez. The teams are split into two groups of three with one alternate. Both teams advance to state competition on Feb. 16 in Temple. TACS stands for Texas Area Community Schools. According to the TACS website, each year TACS sponsors the Academic Challenge, open to any high school whose district is an Institutional Member of TACS. Each school can enter up to three teams in the competition. Students of varying academic ability are on each team. Teams consist of a Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 player. Questions for the competition are based on the TEKS from the high school courses in English, mathematics, science and social studies. “Students don’t have to be at the top of their class to be eligible to compete,” Smith said. “A student may be strong in math, but not so strong in science or English. We put together a very strong team. Each student’s strength helps make up another student’s weakness.” The competition is like an academic bowl, Smith explained. Questions are read aloud, and four answer choices flash up on the screen. The students, who are monitored by a proctor from a different school, circle their answers on an answer sheet. The team with the most correct answers wins. “I definitely have hopes for this year’s team,” Smith said. “Getting first in area is a great accomplishment, and they have a great chance at state events, where a lot more scholarship money will be available.” Smith, a CTE instructor who teaches computer and accounting classes, said she finds teachers who are strong in the four disciplines to help coach the students. “They come to me to get the study materials,” Smith said. “They need to read the literature, since they don’t know what the test questions will be. They practice during their advisory period, and we hope they find time to read and study in the evenings on their own time.” Although TACS is separate from UIL, many students compete in both TACS and UIL events. As with sports and academic UIL events, students need to make good grades to remain eligible. “Some students do both TACS and UIL,” Smith said. “Others don’t really have an opportunity to do UIL. TACS gives them an opportunity to participate in a competition for scholarship money.”

Muleshoe High School Area TACS Academic Challenge Competitors are (L to R): Alina Elizarrarez, Danielle Moran, Destiny Flores, Mercy Manzanales, Joe Gutierrez, Elias Aguirre and Dmetri Ramirez
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