So What Did She Write?
If you’re feeling like it’s been a bit of the Madison Hagood show lately here on texansunited.com, it’s because it has been. The high school senior, actually the newly graduated high school senior, just seems to keep on stealing the headlines as she moves from one activity to the next, but today, it is her state championship in feature writing that we salute!
Since I know that most of you have never had the opportunity to read a sample feature writing paper, I thought I would bring you a bit of Madison’s winning paper. I think you will find that the high schooler who wrote it has a lot of promise that her college profs are going to be excited to work with in their classes.
Of course, it is the job of the feature writer to grab the reader’s attention with the very first paragraph. Below is Madison’s introduction to her paper.
“The timid, fourth grade boy looks up as his teacher pauses to pat him on the shoulder. Dressed to the nines every day, with her lipstick catching the glare from the overhead lights, the young boy smiles. This is the woman who has shown him that there is more to life than basketball, that his father’s 8th grade education does not define nor limit him, and that, contrary to what he has repeatedly been told, he is of value and worth.”
The young man that Madison went on to “feature” in her article was Dr. Charles Breithaupt, “Executive Director of the University Interscholastic League, and the last guest to ever speak at the State Feature Writing Competition. He is no longer that timid child, but a man who is proud of his family, his accomplishments, and of the legacy that will follow him.”
From that point on, Hagood did a great job of using Breithaupt’s own words for the bulk of the paper, while adding a bit of her own narrative.
“One of the things I like to ask myself is why,” Breithaupt said. “Why am I doing this? Why am I here today? I think it’s because, from where I look, there sits a Senator, there sits an engineer, and there sits a teacher. Where else would I find such splendid company? That’s why I do what I do.”
Breithaupt grew up with a love of the game of basketball, and started his career as the 7th grade B team coach at Buna Junior High.
“I found out after they hired me that it wasn’t because I was a basketball coach or an English teacher, but because I knew how to drive a bus,” Breithaupt said. “The turning point for me, though was when the A team coach pulled me aside after a game and said, ‘You won’t ever be a good coach until you realize that anyone can coach the good kids, but what about the kid that no one likes? Who is going to coach him?’ That taught me that you have to see the value and worth in everyone.”
From Buna, Breithaupt moved to Hardin-Jefferson High School, where, in 1991, his basketball team won the AAA state championship, and Breithaupt was named coach of the year.
“We will celebrate the 25th anniversary of winning the state championship in the spring,” Breithaupt said. “More importantly than even winning the game, however, is the fact that all five starters now have the word “Dr.” in front of their names. While advancing to state makes you part of an elite group, I told my players, ‘Don’t let this be the highlight of your life.’”
From coaching, Breithaupt moved to the area of academics, and became the UIL Executive Director in 2009. He oversees the academic, music and athletic competition for more than 1,400 high schools, 1,600 middle schools, and 2,000 elementary schools across the state.
“We have kept the UIL alive amidst controversy, and we were able to show that the UIL is worthwhile,” Breithaupt said. “We celebrated our 100th anniversary five years ago, knowing that there is always someone around the corner who thinks that they can do a better job. You never know what is going to happen, and that makes my job exciting.”
As Breithaupt wraps up his interview; a former coach, husband, father, and the last speaker to ever captivate the contestants of the State Feature Writing Competition, he insists that this is not the end, but the beginning.
“We have set the trend of change, and for an organization that is set in tradition, change can be difficult,” Breithaupt said. “But with change, comes progress. In my 40 years, my proudest moment was not winning the state championship, but the addition of UIL contests that you probably haven’t even heard of. Spirit contests, robotics, film contests, I am proud of the fact that we are opening up to new things.”
And just like that…Madison Hagood and her coach, Mrs. Leighanne Ingram, earned the state medal. Here at United, we send out a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the both of them!