KHS tops Texas third straight year

Ranked eighth program nationally


When Ducks Unlimited recently released its rankings for the best high school and university DU clubs, Kilgore High School DU lead the list for Texas.

For the third consecutive year, KHS-DU topped all other Texas DU clubs. This is the first time any Texas high school DU club has been named state champion for three years running.

Not only was KHS DU honored as the top high school DU club in Texas, but it also ranked eighth in national competition. KHS agriculture teachers Kristin Pieper and Andrew Bolton are the club’s sponsors and Emalie Hanewald is the president.

At the Texas DU state conference in June,  KHS DU will received plaque recognizing Pieper, Bolton and Hanewald for their leadership and banners honoring both their 2017 state championship and their national ranking.


“We had a wonderful group of students in 2017,” Pieper said. “They came into the school year eager to defend their championship; they worked hard to do it; and they pulled it off.”


In 2017, KHS DU hosted its third fund-raising banquet in May and helped manage both the Gregg County DU banquet and the Sabine Valley DU banquet. They conducted successful raffles at both those event, boosting their overall income for DU’s conservation work.


“These events are a great learning experience for the students,” KISD board member Joe Parker said. “They learn organization, time management, financial planning, teamwork, salesmanship, skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.”


For each of the fund-raising events, the KHS DU students select the date, arrange the caterer and event location, choose the banquet merchandise from the DU catalog, and solicit donations from local businesses and individuals. On the day of the event, they are responsible for setting up the location, assigning the merchandise to the live auction, the silent auction or the raffle tables, and placing the merchandise to its best advantage.


“These kids are really excited,” Pieper said. “No high school DU club in Texas has ever ‘three-peated’ with the state championship. They will be the only school to ever achieve that because the DU ranking system changes in 2018.”


The KHS DU varsity club is open to any KHS student who’s interested in hunting, fishing, the outdoors in general or conservation. When school begins, interested students are encouraged to contact Mrs. Pieper or Mr. Bolton about membership.


Any area individual or business who wants to help the students their success in DU competition or anyone seeking more information about KHS-DU should contact KHS-DU mentor Richard Harrison at KHS.Varsity.DU@gmail.com.


Founded in 1937, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest wetland conservation organization. Since its beginning, DU has conserved, restored and protected more than 4 million acres of wetland habitat in all 50 states, each of the Canadian provinces and key areas of Mexico. Some 900 species of wildlife live and flourish on DU projects, including many threatened or endangered species.


For more information about Ducks Unlimited, visit the organization’s website at www.ducks.org  For more information on Texas DU, visit the Web site at www.ducks.org/Texas.


Special Sections