Academic events, sports provide ways to earn letter jackets

Story by John David Goins

Students throughout the school wear letterman jackets to show off their accomplishments and talents. The ways students can earn these jackets is often unknown.

Though the qualifications for earning a jacket vary with the activity, academics is one way students can letter.

“The student must participate in an academic event for two years, attend the district competition for two years, and participate in a minimum of three practice tournaments each of those two years,”  UIL Academic Coordinator Elaine Harrell said. “[Another way to get a jacket is to] place in the district meet and advance to participate in the regional or state level.”

Lettering in football is fairly simple, and soccer players have pretty much the same requirements. Sophomore Michael Stanley has lettered in both.

“You have to be in a certain number of plays during a varsity game [to letter in football],” Stanley said. “ All you have to do for soccer is play in a couple of varsity games as well.”

All sports are not so easy to letter in, and band is one of these.

“You must earn a spot in All-Region band,” junior Hannah Cochran said. “You also have to go to state in solo and ensemble.”

Like band, some sports require students to participate in the regional levels of competions in order to letter. These sports include swim and tennis, both of which require the student to be on varsity.

“In swim you must place at least 16th to letter,” sophomore Nick Sehy said. “[To place you have to] be on varsity.”

When it comes to cheer and dance, lettering take some time.

“When it comes to drill team, the ways to letter are to dance as a senior or to become an officer,” senior Lydia Knight said. “You work so hard in drill team, so getting your lettermen [makes it] worth it. It’s definitely one of my favorite memories about drill team.”

It takes three to four years for anyone to earn a letter in drill team or cheer.

“You have to cheer your junior year in order to earn a letterman in cheerleading,” sophomore Savannah Beck said. “It’s extremely hard because there are so many girls that are so good trying out.”

Receiving a letterman can mean a lot to students, especially if they letter as a freshman. However, the letter doesn’t mean as much as what it stands for: the camaraderie of the team and the love of the sport.

“It feels great to letter as a freshman, but I still have three and a half years to be on the team and a lot more work to do,” freshman Ben Norton said. “Having a letterman is awesome, but it means much more to me that I’m part of the team.”