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June 3, 2014

Their future is adding up

CADDO MILLS — The Caddo Mills High School UIL Accounting Team is the best team in Texas.

The team, comprised of Jett Johnson, Mary Moran, Cody Damon and Kyle Thompson, recently won the championship held in Austin. The team also had the highest state accounting score in any of the classification of schools in Texas from 1-5A.  Accounting teacher and UIL Coach Jill Richardson said she wanted to instill a legacy of greatness in the teams she has coached over the years.

An alumnus of Caddo Mills, Richardson said she came back to the high school with a goal: to be the best in Texas.

“When I came 27 years ago, my goal was to make this the strongest accounting program in Texas,” she said.

After going to the state competition every year since 1998, winning gold since 2012, and having the best overall score for any classification two years in a row, “I told my students ‘I think we’ve accomplished that,’” she said.

Richardson also took home an individual award, the UIL Coach of Excellence Award, for her coaching on the team.  The test itself is a grueling one-hour, 80-question test which covers a varied amount of accounting concepts that often leave students exhausted after taking it.

“It’s pretty intense. It’s very intense, actually,” she said. “It’s a very rigorous timed exam.”

Her students practiced for not only the exam but also prepared for the stress of the exam by numerous timed practice ones held by Richardson.

“We do a lot of practice exams and go through the concepts,” she said, adding an important aspect is balancing out the speed and the accuracy of the test-takers. “We take practice test after practice test.”

Richardson has dedicated so much of her time to accounting because she said it has many benefits for students after walking across the graduation stage.

“That’s what is neat about high school accounting,” she said. “It’s something that they can see as becoming a career for them.”

With many of her students now working full time in accounting careers, Richardson said knowing they are succeeding outside the classroom is a reward in itself.

“It’s a great feeling to know that they know what they are going to be doing,” she said. “The rewards of competition enable students to develop pride in our school and in themselves while at the same, opening their eyes to future careers and opportunities.”

Richardson, and the accounting team she teaches, have won numerous awards in the past 18 years. Richardson keeps the awards in her classroom on what she calls her “wall of honor” to remind her of the success her teams have had.

“I’m just so proud of them. It’s a great accomplishment,” she said. “I’m just glad I am here for the ride.”

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