Special to the SWT
RICHMOND—The Virginia Association of the Technology Student Association (TSA) hosted its annual leadership conference this past weekend at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The competition is called “Technosphere.”
The conference is the highlight of the Virginia TSA year and provides an incredible opportunity for students to compete, lead, and learn through competitive events for middle school students, officer campaigning, and leadership workshops.
At 5 a.m. Friday, Pulaski Middle School’s Tech Ed Director, Ken Mitchell, loaded up his TSA students and drove them the five hours to the state capital to compete in Technosphere. The students competed Friday and Saturday and attended an awards ceremony Sunday morning. A handful of parents and chaperones also attended the conference.
In the Communication Challenge, participants designed and produced a tri-fold brochure that promotes the chapter, an effective sponsor support request on chapter letterhead, and an 8 ½ x 11-inch glossy, two-sided postcard that promotes the current national service project of TSA. Semifinalists use their creativity to design a solution to an on-site problem under time restraints.
PMS eighth grade student Lexi King earned second place and qualified for the 2013 National Conference Championship. The competition will be hosted at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. from June 28-July 2 this summer. Seventh grader Joseph Ainsworth placed 9th in the same competition.
In the Problem Solving Contest, participants use problem-solving skills to develop a finite solution to a stated problem given on site. Participants work as a team to provide the best solution, which is measured objectively. PMS students James Hoadley and Hagan Smith placed 6th.
In the Agriculture and Biotechnology Contest, participants conducted research on a contemporary biotechnology or agriculture issue of their choosing, documented their research, and created a display. The information gathered was either student-performed research or a re-creation or simulation of research performed by the scientific community. If appropriate, a model or prototype depicting some aspect of the issue is allowed in the display. PMS’s team of Allison Caudill, Shianne Cummins, Dakota Sayers, Cheyenne Hinkle and Spencer Reed placed 10th.
The System Control Technology Contest had participants develop a computer-controlled model solution to a problem provided on site. Normally, the problem is a scenario of a situation in an industrial setting that requires a solution. Each team analyzes the problem, builds a computer-controlled mechanical model, programs the model, explains the program and mechanical features of the model-solution, and leaves instructions for operating the device. PMS students Cherokee Widner, Allison Caudill and Josh Lambert placed 10th.
Eighth grader Spencer Reed represented Pulaski County Schools on the TSA State Board of Directors as the Blue Ridge Regional President at the conference. Warren Crandall, Jay Townley, Jake Mitchell and Emily Slate also competed well for the Orioles.