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School Scene

Spring 2012 

April 2012 - Vol 6, Issue 2
In This Issue
Florida School Wins National Technology Competition and Big Financial Prize, by Mary Hurst, News Chief
TEAMS, by Pratyusha Gupta, National TSA President
Competitive Event Success Workshop at the National TSA Conference, by Austin Vest, National TSA Vice President
The 34th National TSA Conference, by Ashlee Shryock, National TSA Secretary
Junior Solar Sprint , by Chip Bollendonk, National TSA Treasurer
UNITE, by Marie Sabillo, National TSA Reporter
TSA and the American Cancer Society, by Jason Dreyzehner, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms
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Florida School Wins National Technology Competition and Big Financial Prize  


Reprinted with permission of News Chief, Winter Haven, Florida
by Mary Hurst, News Chief
Photograph by Paul Crate, News Chief


DAVENPORT, FL - Davenport School of the Arts Principal Brian Kier had wished the school's garden project, managed by members of the school's TSA chapter, would win a national technology competition on its own merits.  His wish came true - and with it $100,000.00.



In March 2012, his school was one of the four schools picked by judges that will each receive a total of $100,000 in technology equipment, software and cash in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow contest.

The school had entered the contest based on a video of the school's learning garden project.  There they planted vegetables in traditional beds, flowers to attract butterflies and grow vegetables and fruits in a hydroponic garden.

With the help of local Master Gardener Mike Howell, TSA student members are learning about ecosystems and biologic pest control like wasps, beetles and lady bugs that land on plants to get rid of other harmful things that attack the plants.

The principal said that in the coming weeks, the school will be receiving lists of technology and Microsoft and Adobe Software from which they can choose $45,000 worth of each.  The school also will receive $5,000 cash to spend on the garden project. "That will be extremely helpful," Kier said. "We're hoping the equipment and software will be designated towards things at an art school," he said. "We teach instructional television, photography and graphic arts here."

The rest of the money will be used by TSA advisors Tracy Miller and Patti Frier to take two or three students for a three-night trip to Washington, D.C., where they will meet Grammy-winner and philanthropist John Legend via Samsung.

As part of Samsung's Hope for Children initiative, Solve for Tomorrow encourages teachers to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by raising enthusiasm for these subjects and addressing the technology gap in classrooms.

Students and teachers from more than 1,400 schools across all 50 states participated in the second contest by responding to the challenge: "Show how STEM can help the environment in your community."

Last August, Samsung asked teachers nationwide to submit a short application for a chance to participate in the video competition.  It was a three-tier contest.

The 25 quarter-finalists received video creation kits containing $1,000 of technology -- including a Samsung laptop, camcorder and software from Adobe.  Of those schools, 12 semi-finalist were awarded $70,000 in technology and software.

Then the online voting began, and the judging.

The top five schools each received an additional $30,000.


By Pratyusha Gupta, National TSA President


One of TSA's newest programs is TEAMS or Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science.  This program is an annual high school competition which challenges teams of students to work together to solve practical engineering problems in a test-based scenario.  There are two levels of competition based on grade level, 9th and 10th grades and 11th and 12th grades. 


Each year, TEAMS publishes a new theme based on the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges.  This year's competition, with the theme, "Engineering Healthier Lives," took place between February 13 and March 12, 2012.  Each of 100 locations hosted the event independently.  Many host sites are universities and the competitions are supported by high school educators, corporations and many professional organizations.


The TEAMS competition helps develop critical skills such as teamwork, analytical thinking, and multi-dimensional problem-solving.  This competition is intended to help develop "STEM-capable" students by demonstrating how math and sciences can solve real-world issues.  Since countless reports have identified science and math achievement gaps in America, programs such as TEAMS, along with TSA's other competitive events, can help bridge these educational gaps. 

Throughout this year's preparation for the competition, students discovered that engineering can be closely involved in healthcare and medicine.  They used their math and science problem-solving skills during their preparation for the event.  On the day of the competition, teams of 4 to 8 students faced off for two ninety-minute tests.  The first portion of each test consists of eighty multiple choice questions and the second portion contains eight tasks that must be answered in a short essay format. 



Over 10,000 students were involved in TEAMS 2012 and competed for local, state and national rankings, and awards for 3 divisions of competition:  "Home" (for homeschooled students), "Group" (for youth organizations such as Boy/Girl Scouts, 4-H, and YMCA), and "School."  The school division is then split into eight further categories based on admissions policy and senior class enrollment size.   



State TEAMS rankings are now available on the TEAMS website,  National winners will be announced in May. 


TSA is pleased to include TEAMS as part of its competitions.   This program applies STEM principles to real world scenarios and helps to develop a student's technical skills.  It is a wonderful addition to our list of competitions.








Competitive Event Success Workshop at the National TSA Conference

By Austin Vest, TSA Vice President 

The National TSA Officer team will be hosting a Competitive Event Success Workshop for members who attend this year's national conference.


This one hour workshop will be presented twice at the national conference.  The workshop will include information on Rules Interpretation, Public Speaking, Interview Skills, Visual Presentation, Stress Management, and General Competetive Tips.


An example of the information to be presented during the Interview Skills portion of the workshop might be:




  • Be well versed on the topic for which you are being interviewed.
  • Confidence is the key to getting your point across as clearly as possible.
  • Present brief examples of how each of your skills relates to the topic. 
  • Treat your interviewer like your administrator by being friendly and respectful.
  • Always maintain steady eye contact when talking to the interviewer.

This workshop will be a great opportunity for you to get useful tips for continued success.


The 34th National TSA Conference

By Ashlee Shryock, National TSA Secretary


As we approach the end of another great year, the national TSA conference is quickly approaching!  This year's conference will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee from June 21st -25th.  At the conference, we will have the opportunity to compete, learn valuable leadership lessons, and conduct business for our amazing organization.


Before you know it, the time for national conference will be here and we will all be arriving in Nashville.  I hope to see each and every one of you at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort.  I promise that you will have a fantastic time! 



The national officers filmed a National TSA Conference Promotion Video which is located in TSA's Video Library at 


If you have any questions or comments about the conference, please visit   





Junior Solar Sprint 

By Chip Bollendonk, National TSA Treasurer


TSA's at it again . . . expanding the reach of STEM education.  TSA has teamed with Junior Solar Sprint to develop an exclusive online resourse center for participants in this unique activity.


Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) is an event focused towards 4th-8th grade students interested in STEM standards; through this program, students work together as teams to build the fastest solar-powered model cars with the best designs and craftsmanship.  Like many of TSA's own events, JSS promotes teamwork, problem-solving abilities, environmental awareness, and important STEM-related skills.  As a long time participant in Dragster Design and similar TSA events, I'm excited about the addition of the Junior Solar Sprint program.


Since its inception in 2001, JSS has traditionally served the Northeastern section of the United States.  TSA hopes to widen the range and possibilities of this program by developing an online resource center for educators and participants with a grant from the United States Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP).  By 2013, this online service will provide participants with educational materials, instructional videos, "how to" guides, and other resources designed to help students participate in JSS in any community.  Additionally, the online service will host an online competition, allowing students to compete with participants from across the nation.  In the coming years, the JSS program will ultimately culminate with a national championship event that will coincide with TSA's own national conference.


Junior Solar Sprint, in partnership with TSA, has the opportunity to expand across the nation to help thousands of students build their interests and skills in STEM-related fields.



By Marie Sabillo, National TSA Reporter  


Recently, TSA has expanded by adding new STEM programs.  One of these STEM programs is known as UNITE.  UNITE is a four-to-six week summer program available to high school students that are historically underserved in STEM related studies.  Its purpose is to encourage and prepare these students to pursue a college education in engineering.


Administered by TSA and funded by the US Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP), this program provides young individuals the opportunity to build their confidence and their ability and to become successful engineers in a technical world.




Currently, there are nine UNITE summer programs in the United States (AL, NY, MS, FL, MI, TX, NJ, SD, and CO).  This exciting program is a great addition to the TSA family.  You can read more about it at 







TSA and the American Cancer Society 

By Jason Dreyzehner, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms


During the school year, TSA chapters around the country raise money to help fund the vital research, education, advocacy, and patient services of the American Cancer Society (ACS). We're now into the 2nd semester of this school year, and Relay for Life events are already happening around the country!


If your TSA chapter hasn't already started a Relay for Life team, now is a great time to get a team started. Here are some ideas to help make it a success. Be sure to get appropriate approvals before involving your TSA chapter in any community events.


Event Promotion

TSA members are skillful with computers, graphic design, and social media, and could use these resources to help promote the Relay for Life event in their community.


Game Tournaments

Video game tournaments can be one of the best Relay for Life activities for TSA chapters. Because TSA members often have access to video game consoles and controllers, many chapters hold large multi-player video game tournaments. Many materials have already been created by TSA chapters for holding TSA game tournaments at Relay for Life events. Contact other TSA groups to learn more about how they conduct their video game tournaments.


Screen Printing Booth

Some chapters have access to screen printing operations through their Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at school. If your chapter has access to these operations, a small printing booth could be set up to print fun t-shirt designs at the event.


Photo Booth

Some TSA chapters have access to green screens, photography equipment, and software to run photo booths. Event photo booths can be a great addition to any Relay for Life event, and chapters could develop fun themed backgrounds as great memory shots. Chapters could also provide additional photography services for team and group photos.


On-Site Event Video

TSA's On-Demand Video competition is one of TSA's most popular events. An "on-demand" team could video your Relay for Life event and create a short video documenting the event.


The video production would be a great opportunity to practice for the actual TSA competition, and could serve as a promotional video for next year's Relay for Life event.


Additionally, your team could take pre-orders for the sale of the video and donate the profits to Relay for Life.


All TSA chapters that participate in Relay for Life are recognized for their service at the National TSA Conference through the TSA/ACS Spirit of Service Awards Program. Don't forget to notify the TSA about your involvement! Visit for more information. 


Happy Relaying!



The Technology Student Association fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Members apply and integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts through co-curricular activities, competitive events, and related programs.
School Scene (ISSN 1066-341X) is published three times a year by the Technology Student Association, 1914 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1540. Telephone: 703-860-9000; Fax: 703-758-4852. Web site:
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