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School Scene

Fall 2012 

October 2012 - Vol 6, Issue 3
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In This Issue
Tradition, by Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President
National Officer Team Goals, by Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President
National TSA Week, by Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary
TSA . . . Where Are They Now?, by Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer
Back to the Books, by Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter
Technology Used in the Olympics, by Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms


By Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President


Over the summer, I've been able to reflect on the theme for the 2013 national TSA conference, A Tradition of Excellence, and what it means to me as I enter my senior year of high school.


In my opinion, the most meaningful word in this theme is the word tradition.  Tradition means something special.  To me, tradition  means having a picnic in the park with my family every 4th of July.  Tradition also means making time to play a game with my little brother, even when homework is bogging me down.  Tradition means working diligently on TSA competitions before a conference.


The word tradition can also mean people.  After all, you can't have established customs without having people involved.  One of my favorite traditions involves a close friend of mine.  Traditionally, we always listen to the same song at the start of a drive to a state officer meeting. Thinking about this tradition reminds me of all the fun, laughter and jokes shared with my TSA chapter and my other friends.  


Traditions are meaningless without the people with whom you share them.  Having watched my friends graduate from high school and leave my TSA chapter, I have come to fully realize the value of the relationships that are forged through TSA.


I have many great memories of traveling as a team to conferences, sharing pizza dinners with my chapter members, and perfecting TSA projects with my TSA teammates.  To think that these TSA experiences are nearing their end is somber.  To middle school students with many TSA years ahead of them, I say this: Though you may not feel nostalgic yet, you will start to look at things in a different light as your high school days come to a close.  You will remember your experiences in TSA and wish that you had just one more year to soak it all in.  I guarantee it.


But I'm not ready for goodbyes yet.  I still have my senior year to enjoy, 365 glorious days of continuing a tradition of excellence, a tradition which, for me, fosters friendships and memories and even the occasional quirky custom.


So take advantage of and enjoy the opportunities that TSA provides to interact with some of the most extraordinary people we will ever meet.  Let's continue this "tradition of excellence."


National Officer Team Goals

By Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President 


After this summer's successful 2012 national TSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee, TSA's newly-elected national officer team immediately got to work to ensure that our organization continues to move forward this year and in the future.


In late July, our team met in Washington D.C. to prepare for the year ahead.  Time at the meeting was spent discussing the many aspects of TSA and the nature of the organization as a whole.  We were also able to get to know each other as six new officers from cities hundreds of miles apart who must first understand each other in order to work together as a leadership team.  Several members of the national staff met with our team to hear our opinions and the members' perspective on our organization.


At this meeting, we tackled the first step of achieving great things this year: discussing and determining exactly what goals the members of our organization want us to achieve and how we can achieve them.


Based on our own campaign goals and the concerns that we discussed with members at the conference, our team gave considerable thought and discussion in deciding what to do with our time this year.  We have only one year as national officers to work with each other and with the membership in an attempt to achieve much, so setting realistic and clearly defined goals and priorities became essential.



Presently, we are working on defining our goals and establishing a course of action.  We look forward to sharing our goals in upcoming communications.






National TSA Week

By Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary


My favorite time of year is here:  National TSA Week.  So iron your gray pants, practice your speeches, and dust off your trophies as this is an outstanding way for every TSA member to showcase their accomplishments!  It is also a great time to advertise the benefits of TSA to your community.  Community service projects, fundraising efforts, and social events are three ways to highlight TSA.  Teaching senior citizens how to communicate technologically is not only an amazing way to give back, but is a prime example of the TSA motto:  learning to live in a technical world.  Your chapter members could also visit local businesses in an effort to gain sponsorships to help your chapter meet its financial goals.  Last but not least, hosting a fundraising night at your favorite restaurant can be a fun social gathering for the student body.  All of these projects are aimed towards providing positive exposure of TSA in the community. 


My chapter celebrates TSA week in a unique manner by annually hosting an official week filled with school assembly presentations, themed dress down days, and lunch time activities.  We also use National TSA Week as an opportunity to raise the majority of our funds for state and national conferences.  To promote TSA locally, each day of the week is assigned a different theme to encourage students to have fun and put their creativity to the test!  Our poster features the various dress down themes for the week.  On Wednesday, our entire chapter wears the official TSA attire and gives a presentation at our school wide recital.  By sharing our accomplishments and thanking our supporters, we spark interest in TSA in students, teachers, and parents.  By raising awareness, we accomplish a membership increase!  Throughout the week, all students are invited to participate in the lunch dance-off which features a TSA member's original work from the competitive event, Music Production.



Proper planning, advertising, and most importantly having fun are the three main components to achieve a successful National TSA Week.  Through my school's efforts, our TSA chapter has become a popular topic of interest, and highlights how phenomenal TSA truly is!  Please contact me at to share the ways that your chapter celebrates National TSA Week.







TSA . . . Where Are They Now? 

By Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer


Have you ever wondered how being a national TSA officer affects life after high school?  Let's look at the path of JaMichael James, 2009/10 National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms. 


JaMichael was a member of the TSA chapter at Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School in Montgomery, Alabama.  After his 2010 graduation, he entered Auburn University in Montgomery as an Information Technology (IT) major with a minor in Management.  During his first three years, he has had many accomplishments.      


Soon after his arrival, JaMichael became a Microsoft representative for Auburn University.  This position required him to promote all types of products for Microsoft, including the surface tablet that is debuting this fall.  Because of his outstanding work with Microsoft, JaMichael was offered a part-time job working for Ubisoft,promoting their newest games.  In addition to these endeavors, JaMichael found time to work in Auburn University's IT department, and served as an ambassador for Auburn's Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.  He also secured an IT internship with car company, Hyundai.   


Since graduating from high school, JaMichael James has pursued many opportunities and continues to do so.  His time in TSA, including leadership experience and technology skills development, undoubtedly contributed to his past and continued successes.  Participation in TSA, on the chapter, state, and national levels, helps to make a difference in the lives of young people.


Best wishes for a bright future, JaMichael.  We are very proud of you.



Back to the Books

By Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter  


We've said goodbye to summer pool days and hello to early mornings and lots of homework.  Adjusting to the new school schedule requires reviewing a few key tips on how to get the most out of your school year.



Every level of school has its challenges.  Middle school students are adjusting to the new schedules and exploring different activity interests.  High school students are taking on more  challenging classes and accepting more responsibilities.  Extra-curricular activities are enjoyable and important, but they are time consuming as well.  The first step toward a successful school year is to prioritize your time and limit your extra-curricular activities to a favorite few (like TSA).  Priortizing will reduce stress and allow you to devote your time to achieve success in both the classroom and in your favorite extra-curricular activities.


Time Management!

The primary goal of school is to further students' knowledge and prepare them for the future.  But you can have fun, too.  Time management is essential to a successful academic and social school year.  When choosing your extra-curricular activities, be sure to allow yourself enough time for everything, especially academics.  Using a calendar or planner (electronic or paper) is a great way to keep track of everything.  Invest an hour of your time each week to note all assignments, activities, obligations, and important dates.  These should include due dates for homework assignments, test dates, sports practice times, medical or dental appointments, or any other event that involves your time.  This way, you can easily spot open days and times that can be spent doing fun things.  It's important to keep a healthy balance between school work, sports, and leisure time.



Staying organized in school is a must.  You've heard this your entire school career, but it really is vital.  Prioritizing, managing time well, and staying organized all go hand in hand.  Focusing on organization is sometimes hard, but is always beneficial.  Keeping things straight and in their place saves time and effort.   Developing good organizational habits will not only be helpful in school, but will also carry into your professional career. 


Prioritize, manage time well, and stay organized!  Follow these three key tips and you're on your way to a great school year.  Have fun, learn a lot, and best wishes for a great year!


Technology Used in the Olympics 

By Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms


There is no doubt that one of the highlights of this summer was the 30th Olympic games held in London from July 27-August 12.  This installment of the Olympics showcased some very dramatic events and displays of athletic prowess, from Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time to the double amputee and South African sprinter, Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorious, making his Olympic debut.  While these events were very exciting, many people may overlook the fact that technology played an instrumental role in allowing athletes to perform at high levels and in our ability to enjoy the summer games.


Often times during the Olympics, a few seconds, if not milliseconds determines medal placement.  Matt Grevers won an event by .01 seconds at this year's Olympics.  Maybe one of the most lasting images from any Olympic Games in recent history was in 1998 when Michael Phelps out-touched Milorad Cavic by .01 seconds (the length of a pencil eraser) to win his seventh gold (of his record setting eight) at the Beijing Games.


Before 1996, all events were timed manually.  For the Olympic games held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996, the International Olympic Committee decided to begin timing events using electronic pads.  This switch to high-tech timing has allowed for unparalleled precision and countless dramatic finishes. The pads are hooked up to a computer and work by athletes applying pressure to the pad and the pad sending a signal to the computer, which compiles the results and tells the millions of anxious viewers who won the event.


Other examples of technology that aided athletes during the Olympics include: space-age uniforms made from ultra-light fabric; state of the art training facilities; laser sights for precision shooting; equipment made from super light carbon that can withstand forces over 2000 lbs.; and, in the case of Oscar Pistorious, prosthetic limbs which allow people to not only walk, but to run and compete at the Olympics!


Another way technology was used in the Olympics this summer was in the presentation of the competitions to the nearly 1 billion people who followed the games worldwide.  This summer, people around the world had the ability to stream events to their smart phones, tablets, and computers as well as watch the games in 3-D on TV.  A brand new addition to this year's games was the use of robotic and water-proof cameras to capture every moment of each event.  These robots were strung on cables above the stadiums and zoomed in on the athletes as the events were in progress, giving the viewer a unique Olympic experience.  Two under-water robot cameras were also placed in the pools this year to give the viewers an up close and personal view of each of the swimming events.  Also new this year was the creation of an official Olympic Games App, which gave breakdowns on the events, event times and results, and headlining news straight from London.  All of these technologies combined to bolster the viewer experience for the 2012 Olympics and hopefully made the games more enjoyable for people around the world!


This year's Olympic Games were exciting and are sure to be talked about for years to come. However, without recent advances in technology which helped the athletes train harder and allowed fans from around the world to experience the atmosphere of the Olympic games like never before, these games would not have been nearly as memorable.  Now, as the world turns its focus to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 winter Olympic games, be sure to look out for new technological advances that are sure to enhance the prestige and excitement that accompanies each installment of the Olympic Games!


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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