UIL Journalism Students Spread the WO-S Spirit


Annie Brashear, Writer

As the end of the UIL Academic season comes to a close, WO-S sends their best of the best to the UIL regional meet in Huntsville, Texas. Unfortunately, only one team advanced from the Silver and Blue family; the UIL Journalism students. The team: Amy Newman, Bailee Clark, Makaelen Booker, and Annie Brashear, were excited to get out of school and attend the Regional meet at Sam Houston State University. They packed up and left campus with their beloved sponsor, Mrs. Meri Elen Jacobs, on Friday, April 13, 2018, for their competition on Saturday.
Their arrival to Huntsville, Texas the night before competition left a bit of room for some fun and relaxation for the lovely journalism girls. After a few hours of good food, fun, and a lot of bonding they all decided to get some rest before the long day they had ahead of them. “We had some good food at The Cheesecake Factory, and spent most of the day at the mall. We were able to learn about each other, and grow together as a team”, Senior Bailee Clark said.
The next morning was the day of competition, but the only competitor was Clark, as the rest of the team were alternates. The day began at Sam Houston State University with Clark’s first competition, News Writing, and then her second competition in Feature writing. “I started UIL last year. I initially joined just to compete in headlines but ended up being entered in every category. I eventually fell in love with writing stories and have been competing ever since”, Clark said.
After waiting out two competitions they were all tired, and hadn’t eaten their lunch yet. They sat longingly in a hallway awaiting Bailee’s results. The suspense rose as verification results started being written on a white board in a college lecture room. Coaches and students peered into the room through a small opening of the door. As the names and schools began appearing on the white board, peoples excitement started spilling out. West Orange’s team began jumping up and down once Clark’s name showed across the board as 6th place in the News Writing category. While waiting for the second round of results, the team decided to discuss places to eat afterwards. After not eating since breakfast, they were all pretty hungry.¬†Unfortunately, after all of that wait, Clark didn’t place in Feature writing. However, they were all excited to be able to leave the University and finally eat. “I was really happy that she placed in (News writing) but I was sad that she didn’t get the opportunity to go to state since it is her senior year”, Jacobs said.
“I was hungry but not as hungry as everyone else, I was super excited for the first restaurant but it was too packed, the second option was less crowded and seemed like the best option out of all the places around”, Newman said. The team began by walking to a nearby restaurant, but was met with disappointment when it was packed. After a short walk and small discussion, the group decided on The Draft Bar, a small empty bar/restaurant near SHU. “The place looked mostly empty, so we decided it would hopefully be a quick and a good stop for us. We were ready to eat and go home”, Brashear said.
Once they had sat down and ordered their food, the girls noticed that their waitress seemed to be the only one on staff that day. Although the inside of the establishment was empty, the outside deck seemed to have a quite large group of “Frat boys” dining, and the lone waitress was serving them and everyone inside as well. The waitress, Gianni, is a freshman in college at SHU, claimed she was often the only waitress on shift, this wasn’t the first time for her. A couple of the team members started getting their food, meanwhile the men on the deck started causing trouble with the manager of the restaurant. After filing a complaint against Gia, the Frat members left without paying their $100 tab, which would be docked off Gianni’s paycheck. The team was made aware that she had broken down and walked out to get some air and calm down, after her kitchen staff had yelled at her about the men leaving. The group decided to follow her out and help her gain the strength to go back in and finish her shift. “Well I don’t like seeing anyone sad, you only live once and you need to be happy most of the time”, Booker said.
After their pep talk to the waitress, they all came back inside to eat and will Gia to finish her shift. The group came together after Clark and Newman made a suggestion to help pay the $100 tab the Fraternity left for Gia to pay, and gathered their cash that equaled $100 to give to her. “We’d already decided to give her a large tip after finding out she was the only waitress on staff. But after hearing that she’d have to pay that tab, we decided to help her out a little more than just a tip”, Brashear said. Once all the group got their food, they had decided to give her the tab money, and she was beyond grateful. She gave a lot of hugs and a lot of appreciative comments. While eating, Clark was texting her family about the situation and her dad decided to add $100 to her bank account to tip Gia. Even after paying for the tab her father, Scott Clark, wanted to give more to the deserving waitress. “It’s not about me though, $120 should’ve covered Bailee’s tab and the tip. God is watching over her and everything will be okay”, Scott Clark said.
After a long two days, the UIL team left the restaurant feeling exceptional about giving back to society. With being such giving people, they didn’t expect recompense for their good deed in anyway. They told only their close family and friends about the situation, because they wanted no publicity. Although they expected nothing in return, their sponsor Mrs. Jacobs told their school principal, which went up the line of people in administration and eventually their superintendent. The administration decided to make the four girls the Mustangs of the Month, which is a huge honor knowing only one person is picked each month, no other exceptions have been made. “It felt really great to help her out. I’ve had days where everything just seemed to be going wrong, so I wanted to add some good to her day. She was an excellent waitress and deserved even more than we were able to give her”, Clark said.
Now, they’ve gone back to their everyday lives, knowing they’ve made an impact on someones life, even if it was small. These wonderful girls hope that their story inspires people everywhere to go out and make a difference in peoples lives. A small help is better than no help at all, and random acts of kindness without expectations of reward is what keeps the world going round.