Senior wins first at UIL state

Essay wins first in competition


Courtesy of Carolyn Plein

Carolyn Plein with her plaque and medal from winning first place at state for her essay. She also qualified for a scholarship.

by Kyle Gehman, Assistant Editor

After competing against hundreds of students and hours of hard work, senior Carolyn Plein placed first place in state UIL for her essay in the Barbara Jordan Essay contest.

The Barbara Jordan Essay contest is sponsored by UT and requires students to write an essay highlighting an African American individual who has significantly contributed to Texas history. Plein chose a Austin reverend from the 1800s after researching him after visiting the George Washington Carver museum.

“I was honestly really surprised,” Plein said. “Especially after hearing some of the other essays during the reading, I didn’t expect to win first at all. I wrote about a man named Jacob Fontaine who founded many of the first African American churches in the Austin area during the post Emancipation Proclamation era. He was a big leader for the emerging black community in Austin and all over Texas.”

Besides learning more about Texas’s African American history, Plein also learned some other things.

I learned about the value in pushing myself outside the traditional classroom expectations.

— Carolyn Plein

“I learned about the value in pushing myself outside the traditional classroom expectations,” Plein said. “I also got to meet and hear from a wide range of other Texan students and learn from their very different and unique perspectives.”

With winning first Plein qualified for TLIF which is an organization that gives out scholarships to applicants. However, that wasn’t her favorite part.

“My favorite part was being able to go to the state meet and see all the different students from other schools and hear their essays,” Plein said. “It was cool to hear from a wide range of students and their experiences.”