From left to right: Paige Rawlinson, Hannah Spikes, Janice Holcomb, Selene Garcia, Eryn Sawyer Photo By ANDY ADAMS/Lufkin ISD

Twenty-one district championships, eleven regional championships, two state championships and heading to state again this weekend, LHS accounting teacher Janice Holcomb has proven that her students have what it takes to earn championships.

“Ms. Holcomb trains winners,” said Paige Rawlinson one of the juniors on the accounting team heading to state this weekend.

Ms. Holcomb says there is no secret to her success. There is no silver bullet. Although repeated championships for decades have one common denominator which is Janice Holcomb.

“Bear Bryant said, ‘It’s not the will to win. Everyone has that. It’s the will to practice to win,’” quoted Ms. Holcomb.

Ms. Holcomb said the team is inexperienced this year and probably did not know what they were getting into when she asked them to compete. There are three juniors and one sophomore that make up the team. The four students agreed with Ms. Holcomb and said it takes practice, practice, practice. The students have practice after school every Tuesday and Thursday with more work to complete when they get home.

Plus, Ms. Holcomb hand selects her team. She talks with math teachers and chooses students with potential.

“Ms. Holcomb called me in the hall and I was terrified. She told me I made the accounting team, and I was like YES in my mind!” said junior Eryn Sawyer who won second highest individual score at regional competition.

“I had no idea about accounting. I was emailing my counselor, and it was either accounting or a business class. Accounting has helped me. I like it. I like problem solving,” said sophomore Hannah Spikes.

Ms. Holcomb piped up and mentioned that Hannah is fast on the calculator, which is a good trait to have when facing state competition.

Selene Garcia said she was recommended by her geometry teacher.

“I love it!” said Selene who placed highest individual score at the regional competition.

Paige said it feels great to be part of the team. She even told other teachers how her goal was to be on the team.

“I joined the class because I wanted to be on the team. I’m glad I did. I’m very happy,” said Paige.

She went on to say that they want to win for Ms. Holcomb.

“We don’t want to let Ms. Holcomb down. We’re doing this for Ms. Holcomb. She’s had so many wins in the past,” said Paige.

Ms. Holcomb feels like the girls being state qualifiers is already a big win.

She said, “This is Texas not Delaware. The competition is big.”

“I tell the girls they need some passion in their belly to win and Hannah said one day, I think I got it,” said Ms. Holcomb.

Several team members said, “We want it bad.”

“It’s very rewarding. She told us to take a year to learn. We went and won regionals, we didn’t know how far we would go,” said Hannah.

The commonality of the students is that they all love numbers. Three of the four even changed their career paths to become accountants.

“Being smart, all of them are smart, is not enough. You have to know how to solve problems,” said Ms. Holcomb.

The girls said together quoting Ms. Holcomb “and speak the language.”

The team will compete this Saturday at Stephen F. Austin State University with verification on Monday, May 3. The competition is usually held at Austin, but with COVID-19 protocols, schools are broken into competition hubs all over the state.