Competing in UIL’s Lesser Known Events


Lexi Anchondo

Junior Lynnsey Mahler, freshman Mareli Hidalgo, and senior Annabelle Anchondo posing funny for a picture.

Lexi Anchondo, Writer

A group of SEHS students have worked hard in the lesser known UIL events of Theatrical Design and the UIL Essay Contest. These students, Annabelle Anchondo, Mareli Hidalgo, and Lynnsey Mahler, have given time and devotion to their projects respectively, to try and make it in the state event.  

“We’ve all put a lot of effort into these projects, and I hope we get where we all set out to do,” Lynnsey Mahler said. 

Theatrical Design is a competition in which students design and create set and costume designs, apply makeup and draw their designs and create marketing plans including posters and programs for a specific play as chosen by the state UIL office. This competition takes time and an immeasurable amount of work. 

“I am so proud of all three of these girls for competing in these contests because it’s it takes a lot of self-motivation and drive to be able to do this,” teacher Cassi Furr said. 

The play chosen this year was Frankenstein in a new adaptation by Dorothy Louise (based on the novel by Mary Shelley).  

The challenge this year was to pick a theme from the play and make it shine through your work,” Mahler said. 

Student Lynnsey Mahler made a set design for the theatrical competition. 

“For my first two years I did costume, and this year I did set. In both categories, my favorite part has been seeing the project finished,” Mahler said.  

Mahler has participated in this competition for three years.  

Lynnsey Mahler’s ground plan for UIL Theatrical Design set contest. (Lynnsey Mahler)

“This contest gives me a chance to be creative. I get to mess around and create beautiful cohesive projects and that is something I really enjoy,” Mahler said. “I think the most satisfying thing in life is watching raw products come together to make something new, so I am really grateful to get to take part in this contest.” 

Mahler has not yet made it to state, but the future always holds the chance. 

“I am really excited about my project this year. [My concept] transferred better in set design so I took on a new challenge. I was a little worried about it but all in all, I think I did well,” Mahler said. “I have a deep meaning behind every detail in my set. I did my best to make it functional and cohesive and at the end of the day, even if I don’t make it to state, I can say I gave my best try.” 

Student Mareli Hidalgo did Hair/Makeup design.  

“I liked it when we were creating the boards,” Mareli Hidalgo said. “I felt glad that I was so close to finishing. Looking back at what I did I was proud of myself even if I don’t make it [to state].” 

Mareli Hidalgo’s makeup design for the character Creature for the UIL Theatrical Design hair & makeup contest. (Mareli Hidalgo)

This is Hildago’s first time competing in Theatrical Design. 

“One of the hardest parts was trying to come up with the questions,” Hidalgo said. “The theme statement was one of the ones I struggled with.”

The UIL Essay Contests provides students an opportunity to explore the contributions of African Americans or Latinos to Texas history.

“To be honest, I did this competition last year solely for the purpose of getting to write. I love writing, and it is something I enjoy doing,” Anchondo said. “This year, it was a lot more than just writing for me. From the beginning, I was passionate about my subject and the message I wanted to incorporate and pursue within my essay. I wanted to exhibit the equality between men and women and paint the picture that men and women were created to complement one another.” 

 Anchondo chose the Latino essay topic to write about. 

“I was struggling to come up with who I was going to focus my essay on. I had lots of ideas and possible directions I could take my essay, but nothing really was clicking for me,” Anchondo said. “I stumbled across the Hispanic Association of Women, and I immediately was drawn to them. I visited their website, and not too long afterwards, I went ahead and reached out to the organization. They got back to me a few weeks later, and the rest just kind of fell into place.” 

Annabelle Anchondo has been the only SEHS student to participate. 

“Last year I focused on one individual. This year, I decided to focus my essay on a Lubbock organization named the Hispanic Association of Women,” Anchondo said. 

This year is the second consecutive year Annabelle has done the contest. 

“Pretty early on, I was devoted to my message, and it wasn’t long after that I began talking to several people and expanding my knowledge and learned about historical occasions that have kind of been blurred in more recent time,” Anchondo said. “I wanted to uncover that history and demonstrate what it stood for and what it meant to the state of Texas all while exhibiting this organization that encouraged women to see that they too were capable of the accomplishments similar to the ones of individuals who had come before them.” 

All around, teacher and UIL coach Cassi Furr is proud of the students for the time and work they all put in. 

“They both are really hard contests, as they require heavy thinking and a lot of time commitment to be able to compete and to do well.  Not a lot of kids are willing to put in that much effort, so I’m really proud when we have kids who do want to compete,” Furr said.  “Again, it’s just a whole lot of work because they’re doing things that people do as actual professionals and doing them as high school students.” 

Being two contests not well known, students may never get the recognition they deserve. The students that have been involved in Theatrical Design and Essay Contest are glad they got the opportunity to be recognized. 

“In any UIL event there is a lot of research that goes into it. So, all the hours and all the time, even after school, getting some form of “good job” is nice,” Anchondo said. 

Overall, the students are ready to get their results back and have hopes for state. Results for Theatrical Design should be announced during spring break and results for the essay contest should be announced sometime in April.

“You never know with subjective contests how they’re how you’re going to do because neither of these contests has like a score or rubric,” Furr said. “It’s just somebody’s opinion, but I believe that they all three did high-quality work.”