UT Tyler University Academy Brings Home UIL State Debate Championship

May 24, 2024 | Hannah Buchanan

Students excel in Lincoln-Douglas debate, team places fourth overall

Burns and ChongHayden Burns, a senior at The University of Texas at Tyler University Academy – Tyler campus, placed first in Lincoln-Douglas debate at this year’s state University Interscholastic League Academics meet. This is the University Academy’s first UIL state debate champion and third overall UIL state championship in UA district history.

Ian Orr, UA-Tyler senior, placed fifth in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Orr, Burns, UA-Tyler senior Jeremiah Humphries and UA-Tyler junior Mathew Deptula, placed fourth overall in team speech and debate. An Tran, UA-Tyler senior, placed 13th in science. En-Tze Chong and Oscar Urieta, UA-Tyler teachers, serve as the UIL debate and science coaches, respectively.

“We are very proud of all our students and celebrate their success at this year’s UIL state meet,”
said Dr. Jo Ann Simmons, UA superintendent. “We also thank Mr. Chong and Mr. Urieta. They have
given countless hours of their personal time to support enrichment opportunities for UA students.”

These students advanced to state by placing first, second or third in their respective contests at the district and regional levels. At the UIL Academics meet, students are tested both individually and in teams on their knowledge and skills over many content areas including speech and debate, writing, math and literary knowledge.

“It is an honor to see our students succeed and represent UT Tyler University Academy with
distinction,” Urieta added. “This success highlights their effort as well as the tremendous support
from our teachers.”

The UT Tyler University Academy is a K-12 public university laboratory charter school with campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine. UT Tyler UA offers STEM curriculum in a hands-on learning environment. The district currently serves more than 1,000 students. For more information, visit uttua.org/.

With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 10,000 students. Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.