Forty participants qualify for state in TSA competition


Photo by Aparnna Manoj

Robotics team’s invention for the TSA state contest on April 6 to 8.

Technology Student Association (TSA) will be going to the state competition from April 6 to 8. Out of 40 students who qualified for state, 25 placed first in the regional competition in various categories.

“[The students] prepared,” TSA sponsor Dale Rodgers said. “They have passion for the technology that they are entering in the competition. They take it seriously and do well at it. It’s not required; it’s voluntary, so we have kids that want to do well and put in their best effort.”

Spread across two days, the contest has on-site competitions, National Qualifying Events (NQE) and interviews.

“It gives [the students] the competitiveness of the competition itself, which many of them like,” Rodgers said. “They get to [pit] their skills against many students from all around the region and state in various categories of technologies. It gives them some leadership development because they are given the responsibility for their own preparation.”

The TSA club started in 1999, when the school opened. Over the years, TSA has participated in the competitions. The contests have some team-based events in which interaction is important.

“If you’re in the robotics team, it’s an ‘on the spot’ kind of thing and that’s purely interaction,” sophomore Divya Viswanathan said. “They put the robots together and they’re supposed to do a task. For events, like debate, there’s a lot of interactions as well. You have to figure out how to do rebuttals to the other team.”

The team on-site events require the students to perform tasks with their inventions or do technological debates.

“They get along really well,” Rodgers said. “That’s one of the things that we promote: teamwork and leadership development. And some of the contests require a team setup. They help each other and the older members that have been involved for more than one year. They advise and act as mentors for the younger students as well.”

There are various types of technological events at the competition, like graphic design and webmastering to robotics. The events that require an interview, have students sit down with a judge.

“Talking to the judge can be a frightening situation,” sophomore Riya Gupta said. “Because you’ve put so much effort into your project and you don’t want anything to go wrong. It’s a bit of pressure but it helps us raise our communication and leadership skills.”

Viswanathan and Gupta are partners for the Scientific Visualization and Music Production events. Gupta said there is a lot of documentation, like work logs in their event.

“We’re trying to prepare for the interviews,” Gupta said. “There’s an interview and events like NQE (national qualifying events) and both of our events are NQE’s and we’re hoping to qualifying for nationals.”