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Tech leaders of tomorrow represent DCSD at national competition

MVHS students at TSA National Competition

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – In late June, 6,800 students and educators from across the United States converged near the nation’s capital to display their technology acumen, creating an atmosphere charged with enthusiasm and innovative ideas.

Competitors from Mesa Middle School, and Legend and Mountain Vista high schools, arrived with an ingenuity that impressed judges and returned home with eight awards.

The 2014 National Technology Student Association Conference took place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, from June 27 through July 1. Teams that captured top honors at state level tournaments earned the opportunity to compete in the national event. In addition to designing and producing projects, students were required to complete extensive documentation detailing the processes they followed.

“The skill and knowledge demonstrated by all students at this year’s conference was remarkable,” declared Technology Student Association (TSA) Executive Director Dr. Rosanne White. “It is proof that the breadth of opportunity to gain hands-on career preparation in the STEM disciplines through TSA and its competitions has been embraced and is valued by students and educators alike,” White added.

Kent Allison, a technology and engineering teacher at Mountain Vista High School (MVHS) agrees. Allison coached students from MVHS toward five national awards.

“These students are competing in events that they choose, they find interest in, and ultimately, some of them are majoring in college in.  Being involved with the TSA gives them perspective; they can see how their learning stacks up to other students who have similar passions across the country.  They can work as a team to build something extraordinary, just as they will when they get careers in engineering, computer science and technology,” Allison said.

We started with 14 members when our chapter was established four years ago,” he continued. “This year we had 64 members. 53 attended the state competition and 22 advanced to the national event.”
“This is a very exceptional group of students, “shared Allison. “They are very team-oriented and put in many hours of preparation for the state and national competitions.”

LHS students at the TSA National ConventionLegend High School (LHS) Technology Teacher Debbie Tawzer echoes Allison’s sentiments. “Completing projects of this magnitude requires a great deal of time and effort. Team members learn to pay attention to every detail, because even one point could mean the difference between making it on stage and not advancing further.  I try to remind them that in ‘real life’ it can be the same–little things can make the difference in getting the job or not, or if your company wins a contract or not.”

Teams from LHS brought home two national awards this year.

The focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning is not limited to high school. TSA also offers opportunities for middle school students who aspire to be future engineers, scientists and technologists.

AJ SbarraAJ Sbarra, who completed eighth grade at Mesa Middle School this year, demonstrated his aptitude for STEM at the national conference. For his project in the Flight category, Sbarra was required to study the principles of flight and design, and fabricate test-fly gliders. After building six gliders, Sbarra had the specifications he needed for sizing and placement of the wings and tail fins.

Sbarra maintained his composure through the course of his four competitive flights, after a tailpiece broke during testing, and a crash on his first flight. His glider achieved an impressive time of 14.2 seconds on his last flight of the competition–landing him in seventh place among competitors from across the country. “The thing that we saw AJ come home with as a lasting impression was that he learned he needs to be very detail oriented and thorough,” reflected AJ’s father, Tony Sbarra. He gave a speech in one of the competitions about perseverance… that is what got him there, and he realized that it was his perseverance that got him into the finals in Flight.”

Congratulations to all of the team members listed below!

High School
2nd Place Music Production Veronica Lubofsky, Arlin Tawzer
  4th Place On-Demand Video Mike Andrews, Tyler Andrews, Nathan Erickson, Veronica Lubofsky, Arlin Tawzer, Hailee Tawzer, Matt Wermers
Mountain Vista High School 2nd Place Open Source Software Development Peter Cleverdon, Will Jones, Chris Keith, Nick Lawrence, Anirudh Mathukumilli, Matt Price
  2nd Place Webmaster Brad Arnot, Peter Cleverdon, Nick Lawrence, Anirudh Mathukumilli, Matt Price
  3rd Place CNC Production Luke Johnson, Chris Keith
  4th Place Technology Bowl Sumaer Kamboj, Nick Lawrence, Spencer Pozder,
  7th Place Engineering Design Graham Carroll, Elizabeth Chengrian, Sumaer Kamboj
Middle School
7th Place Flight Anthony Sbarra

The Technology Student Association is a national non-profit organization devoted exclusively to elementary, middle and high school students with a dedicated interest in technology. The Colorado competition included nearly 1,100 participants and approximately 90 leadership and technology-related events.

July 14, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Legend High School, Mesa Middle School, Mountain Vista High School, High School Education, Middle School Education

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