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      Canyon High School student wins first place at UIL

      A Canyon High School graduate ended her senior year on a high note. She placed first in a UIL competition for news and editorial writing. Funny enough, Courtlyn Dees has never been a fan of writing. But a chance encounter changed her path. A path that lead her to participate in UIL state competition that turned out to be a bigger deal than expected. Pronews 7 is featuring her hard work in this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

      Courtlyn Dees is now a proud graduate from Canyon High School. It was in her senior year that she decided to take journalism, instead of theater.

      "I hated writing in junior high, hated it. English was just my least favorite subject and so when I took journalism at the high school and I fell in love with it. It was so different then those flowery English essays you had to write," said Dees.

      It was that love for writing that pushed Dees to participate in regionals for news and editorial writing. She placed second, qualifying her for state.

      "In both competitions they give you a prompt that has information and quotes that you pull from to build your story and so you're in a room with 1 to 5A, everyone gets the same prompt, you get 45 minutes and you just kind of create your own story and turn it in when times up."

      When Dees went into the awards ceremony she said she had no idea what she was in store for.

      "She told me that we're definitely going to the awards ceremony and that's all I knew. So I knew I had placed first through sixth, but I didn't know where."

      When she figured out she won first place, Top of Texas, it's a moment she said she'll never forget.

      "So when they didn't call for third or second I started to cry and I was just so excited and was kind of just in shock."

      Dees immediately moved to Missouri following Canyon High School's graduation. Then in the fall, she'll attend the University of Arkansas where she plans to study broadcast journalism.