L to R: Ethan Easley and Sam Brown
Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPHS FFA students elected to Area and District offices
The FFA organization elected Mount Pleasant High School students Sam Brown and Ethan Easley to Area and District offices.
Brown, a junior, was elected the Area 6 FFA President. His campaign included:
- An extensive interview process.
- He delivered a speech in front of numerous FFA members in Area 6, which is over 100 chapters.
He is the son of Tommy and Carolyn Brown.
Easley, a sophomore, was elected Reporter of the Paris District. He also went through an extensive process to be selected. He is the son of Heslie Zacarias Carrera, Kacey Easley, and Marco Gutierrez.
“This year, Mount Pleasant holds the Area 6 President Office as well as an office in the Paris District,” said MPHS Ag Coordinator Blake Rice. “Mount Pleasant FFA has not had an Area Officer since 2012. It is a huge honor to be elected into office, let alone President. These are huge accomplishments for these young men and our FFA Program.”
Brown and Easley will serve in their roles through March of 2022.
Connelly Cowan | Taryn Thurman
Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPHS CX Debate team earns multiple awards at State
The Mount Pleasant High School Cross-Examination debate team of Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman competed in the online 5A State CX Debate tournament on March 19-20. Cowan and Thurman, nicknamed TarCon, claimed their 3rd District Championship in February, earning them the right to compete at State.
On day one, the field began with 27 teams entered from across the State of Texas, a significant drop from prior years. Due to the pandemic, the UIL only allowed the 1st place team in each district to advance to State, creating a more difficult challenge as all groups were the districts’ champions. Mount Pleasant CT debated teams from Pflugerville Hendrickson, Dripping Springs, Mansfield Legacy, and Frisco Independence. That evening, the teams gathered on a zoom call to learn if they had advanced to the second day. They determined scores by a combination of wins and losses and the speaker points given to each team member.
The first awards given are to the top six speakers in each division. Thurman was awarded the Gold Gavel for having the highest speaker points among all 54 contestants in 5A. She was the first MPHS student to ever receive this prestigious award in 2019 and is the first to repeat the award in 2021. Cowan was awarded the Silver Gavel for having the second-highest speaker points, just 1 point behind Thurman’s perfect score, making them the top two 5A speakers in the State of Texas, the highest individual awards given at UIL State.
After they presented the speaker awards, they announced the advancing teams in each division in alphabetical order. In an average, in-person year, 16 teams advance to Day 2, but this year would see only the top 11. Mount Pleasant CT learned that they moved to the top eleven and would debate for state medals the next day.
Day 2 started with Octofinals, where MPHS earned a bye due to their winning record from Day 1 and high speaker points. MPHS was finally defeated on a close 2-1 decision in the quarterfinal round by A&M Consolidated. They earned 5th place medals, ranking them the #5 CX Debate team in all of 5A in the State of Texas for the 2020-21 school year. Denied the chance at State in 2020 due to the pandemic, the medals would mark the end of their UIL. Along with solidifying them as the most decorated CX Debate team in MPHS school history with two states medals and three state speaker awards. They will debate at Nationals this June in their last tournament as a team.
“It has been a wonderful experience guiding these talented students,” said MPHS Debate Coach Enrique Martinez. “These two have done so much work to continue our debate program’s growth for the last few months. This year is the third consecutive year that Mount Pleasant has brought home UIL state medals in the CX debate, with Thurman and Cowan bringing them home two of the three years. These girls adapted to every situation they faced, whether working through a transition period or competing online instead of in Austin. It is hard to convey to the community the obstacles these girls have had to overcome.”
Martinez continued, “Individually, both Taryn and Connelly received the Gold and Silver gavel awards, awarded to the best and second-best speaker, respectively. It is rare for the two best speakers in any UIL division to come from the same team. This historic achievement couldn’t have been possible without the drive and dedication that these two girls have for success. Taryn’s willingness to work has allowed her to continue performing at the highest level during her senior year. Since their last competition, Connelly has continued to work hard, receiving the silver gavel due to her drive to improve. It has been such an honor to guide these two on this successful journey. They have continued to build on their successes, creating opportunity and growth for future students.”
Thurman will attend Texas A&M University in the fall and is the daughter of Tris and Stephanie Thurman. Cowan will return for her senior year with a new partner in the fall and is Collin and Kelly Cowan’s daughter.
MPHS UIL Academic Team District Medalists
Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPHS UIL competes in district academic tournament
The Mount Pleasant High School UIL Academic team competed at the District 15 AAAAA UIL Academic Meet on March 26-27 at the MPISD Administration Building and Mount Pleasant Junior High. Overall, MPHS took third place and advanced 16 to the Regional Meet.
Social Studies—(1st place team, team regional Qualifiers), Juan Cigarroa 1st place (Regional Qualifier), Odalys Adame (Regional Qualifier), Desline Chavez (Regional Qualifier), Brock Shavers (Regional Qualifier)
Lincoln Douglas Debate—Reid Pinckard 1st place and Top Speaker (Regional Qualifier), Taylor Hubbs 2nd place, (Regional Qualifier), Anthony Orellana 4th place (Regional alternate)
Informative Extemporaneous Speaking—Connelly Cowan 1st place (Regional Qualifier), Taylor Hubbs 2nd place (Regional Qualifier), Ryan Sharp 3rd place (Regional Qualifier)
Persuasive Extemporaneous Speaking—Reid Pinckard 1st place (Regional Qualifier), Isabella Greco 3rd place (Regional Qualifier)
Computer Applications—Victor Diaz 1st place (Regional Qualifier), David Perez 2nd place (Regional Qualifier)
Calculator Applications—(2nd place team) Miguel Segura 3rd place (Regional Qualifier), Patricia Roque 5th place, Devin Castaneda, Nicholas Segovia
Current Events—Connelly Cowan 2nd place (Regional Qualifier)
Journalism—Megan Adams 3rd place Copy Editing (Regional Qualifier) and 6th place Editorial Writing
Mathematics—Miguel Segura 5th place
Accounting—Victor Diaz 6th place
Advancing teams and individuals will compete at the Regional Meet to be held April 16 at the MPISD Administration Building and April 17 at Whitehouse High School. Those placing in the top 3 in each event will qualify for the State Meet in May.