The Panther Press

North Lamar’s Hodgkiss Receives Prestigious UIL Sponsor Excellence Award

School NewsGreg Higgins
  North Lamar High School UIL Social Studies Coach Dennis Hodgkiss works on contest materials during an afternoon practice with Social Studies team member Sophomore Kay Edwards.

North Lamar High School UIL Social Studies Coach Dennis Hodgkiss works on contest materials during an afternoon practice with Social Studies team member Sophomore Kay Edwards.

The University Interscholastic League has announced that North Lamar High School history instructor Dennis Hodgkiss has been selected as one of the 15 recipients of the prestigious UIL Sponsor Excellence Award for 2014, according to UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. 

“Interscholastic competition and student performance have innumerable benefits that are only possible through the hard work and dedication of sponsors, coaches and directors like these,” said Dr. Breithaupt. “On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.” 

Hodgkiss is completing his 35th year as a history teacher at North Lamar High School and has been coaching UIL academic events since 1982.   During that time he has coached journalism, current events, and social studies and has served as UIL Academic Coordinator since 1993. As an academic coach, he has help prepare students advance to state competition in journalism and social studies, two of whom earned state championships in headline writing and editorial writing. 

“Academic competition provided by UIL events serves the student, school and society well,” Hodgkiss said. “These experiences are unparalleled in the high school setting and insure that students will grow personally and academically.”

Hodgkiss was nominated for the honor by NLHS Principal Clint Hildreth.  When Hildreth was contacted by the UIL to inform him of Hodgkiss’ selection, he made an impromptu announcement to the entire school.

“It was a very humbling experience,” said Hodgkiss.  “I don’t know if I am worthy of the award, but I am honored to be mentioned among such fine teachers in the State of Texas.”   Hodgkiss went on to say, “I appreciate the confidence that Mr. Hildreth has shown in me, and I appreciate the constant support that our UIL Academic Program receives from our teachers, administrators, and school board.”

The 2014 recipients were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of academics, athletics and music from hundreds of nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.  Applications were submitted in November and results are announced in the spring.  The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award, now in its 24th year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the educational system.  Experience has shown that these skills carry over into the academic setting of the classroom and enhance students’ over-all educational experience and prepare them for the rigors and challenges of future academic settings. 

“It is so rewarding working with these dedicated students.  Their potential is unlimited.  You just know they’re going to be successful at whatever they attempt,” Hodgkiss said.