San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 12th, 2008
UIL sanctions Mariachi

The Hays Highway
A long-held dream of Hays CISD Trustee Joe Muñoz came true this week, when the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced that Mariachi will become a UIL-sanctioned state competition starting next year.

Muñoz pushed for a Mariachi program at Hemphill Elementary School seven years ago and has since pushed for it at the higher levels. Today, students participate in middle school programs at Wallace and Chapa. A handful of the students now perform and compete in non-UIL events as sophomores at Lehman High School.

“We are grateful to UIL for this change,” said Muñoz, speaking in his capacity as president of the Mexican American School Board Association (MASBA). “This lends credibility for many of the students in Mariachi programs who can go on and get scholarships for college.”

Mariachi will be recognized as a separate, independent category of Medium Ensemble in UIL competition. The change will align Mariachi with Show Choir, Jazz Ensemble and other comparable performance mediums in UIL competition.

Hays CISD Superintendent Kirk London predicted that the number of Mariachi programs at Texas public schools will double in five years.

“We all know that those students who participate in UIL are more successful, happier, and do better in school,” London said. “This is one more opportunity for our students to get involved. The more students are involved, the better all of our schools are going to be.”

Added Muñoz, “Many school districts have not wanted to invest in Mariachi because they have not been UIL sanctioned. It has been perceived much like an after-school activity until now.”

The announcement was made Thursday at the kick-off of MASBA’s 10th annual statewide conference in Austin, hosted by Hays CISD. Saturday, Mariachis from districts throughout Texas, including Hays CISD, La Joya ISD and Kingsville ISD, performed at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center’s Gerald Babbitt Auditorium.

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