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School Scene

Spring 2013

April 2013 - Vol 7, Issue 2
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In This Issue
Year-End Wrap Up, by Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President
Parliamentary Procedure, by Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President
Orlando - "The City Beautiful" by Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary
Now is the Time to Join Your Alumni Association, by Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer
TSA: Making the Green Difference, by Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter
TSA and the American Cancer Society, by Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms

Year-End Wrap Up

By Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President


For this final installment of the School Scene, here is a summary of the work your national TSA officer team has accomplished over the past year.  Transparency and accountability are key components of a successful leadership system, and we invite feedback, both positive and negative, on any of the initiatives in our Plan of Work.


This year, the national TSA officers have focused on revamping and improving aspects of our organization, including promotion and recognition of TSA and conference attendance.  With these changes to our already thriving organization, we hope to leave a lasting impact and continue TSA's "tradition of excellence."


Our endeavors to promote TSA have culminated in a new Promotional Toolkit, which will be unveiled shortly on TSA's website.  The toolkit is mainly targeted towards newer chapters, but has components from which every chapter, even the most well established ones, can benefit.  The toolkit includes PowerPoint presentations, as well as promotional flyers, among other materials, that can be downloaded and customized to be displayed around your school.  This is the latest in our efforts to give TSA a uniform brand, where TSA promotional materials are instantly recognizable and decidedly unique.  In addition to addressing common questions that new chapters may have, the toolkit also offers fundraising ideas to subsidize the price of conference attendance so that more members are able to attend the national conference.  Be sure to take advantage of the toolkit to strengthen your chapter!


The national officer team has also reevaluated the criteria used to assess applications for the TSA Achievement Awards, Technology Honor Society, and the Champion Fund.  The criteria for these programs is being updated to reflect more recent technological innovations and more contemporary methods of promoting and being members of TSA. Though applicants already working on their applications will be grandfathered in under the existing criteria, the updated criterion lists will be put into effect in upcoming years.  Please go to if you are interested in applying for any of these programs. 


We hope that these initiatives will have a lasting impression, and that our officer team will leave a significant mark on TSA.  This is, by no means, an exhaustive list.  Our team was hard-working and I cannot be more proud to have served alongside these five brilliant people.  Additionally, the team helped further some of TSA's new programs, such as Junior Solar Sprint, represented TSA along with other CTSO's during a "Google Hangout" hosted by DECA, fostered TSA's working relationship with past national TSA presidents, and communicated with the membership through the monthly blog and articles for the School Scene, TSA's online newsletter.


Again, we invite feedback regarding any of these initiatives.  With the installment of a new officer team each year, each team seeks to maintain, innovate, or improve TSA programs.  Ideas are always welcome and will be relayed to future officer teams through our wonderful advisor, Mrs. Mary Jo Patterson, and Dr. Rosanne White, TSA's Executive Director.  As always, feel free to email me at or any of the other officers at their respective emails.  


Thank you, National TSA, for your support and the opportunity to serve this organization.  I look forward to seeing you at the 2013 national TSA conference in Orlando!


  The 2012-2013 National TSA Officer team is subsidized by DuPont.


DuPont has become one of the most innovative companies in the world because of their foundation of unending scientific inquiry. DuPont delivers science based solutions that make real differences in people's lives around the world in areas such as food and nutrition, health care, apparel, safety and security, construction, electronics and transportation. They are committed to safety and health; environmental stewardship; high ethical behavior; and respect for people.

Thank you, DuPont, for your support of this year's national officer team.



Parliamentary Procedure

By Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President 


Have you ever been spending time with a large group of friends and tried to make a collective decision regarding something like where to eat or what game to play? You may notice that the more people involved, the more difficult it becomes for everyone to give an opinion and a fair decision to be made. Just imagine how complicated it would be if you put hundreds of executives together in a convention hall and had them make major choices about the future of their corporation. The rule of human nature seems to be that the more opinionated people you put in a room to discuss a topic, the less likely they all are to have their opinions heard.


In order to solve this issue, assemblies follow sets of rules for communicating, most often Robert's Rules of Order.  Also known as parliamentary procedure, these rules of order can be extremely challenging to understand.  However, a comprehensive mastery of parliamentary procedure will give you the powerful ability to make sure your voice is heard in any assembly.   TSA's event, Chapter Team, offers the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of parliamentary procedure relative to business meetings, and is popular on both the middle and high school levels.


The official Robert's Rules of Order book is over 600 pages, and one of the biggest challenges is figuring out where to start.  In order to offer you a foundational understanding, here is a basic overview:


A motion is a member's proposal for some action.  According to parliamentary procedure, all proposals for action must be made as motions.  A member can make comments and suggestions perpetually, but the assembly does not formally consider the action until it is made as a motion.  In order to make a motion, a member must state "I move to..." followed by the proposal.  Once a motion is made, it must be seconded in order to move forward (this simply means another member calls out "second").  Once made and seconded, the chair (usually the president) must restate the motion in order to offer it to the assembly for consideration.  During this period when the motion is being considered but has not been put to a vote, the motion is termed pending.  Finally, after debate has ceased, the chair will put the motion to a vote.  Regular main motions require only a simple majority vote for adoption, but some other motions have other requirements, such as a two-thirds vote.


There are five categories of motions in Roberts Rules of Order.


The first category includes all main motions.  These are the most basic, and most important, kinds of motions.  They deal directly with the actions of the assembly or its members.  An example of a main motion would be if a member stood and stated "I move to order pizza for dinner."  The main motion is the biggest building block of the meeting, and no other kinds of motions can be made (or even make sense) unless a main motion is being considered. Only one main motion may be pending at any given time.  The motions in the other four categories are all tools which help the assembly conduct a meeting or deal with their parliamentary business.


The most basic of these categories is the collection of motions known as subsidiary motions. These motions are most often utilized to aid in the consideration of other motions.   Some examples of subsidiary motions are the motions to amend, to refer to committee, and to postpone to a definite time.  If the main motion to order pizza for dinner was pending, a member may make the subsidiary motion to amend by stating "I move to amend the motion by inserting the words 'from Pizza Shack' after the word 'pizza'."


If that amendment were made, seconded, and restated by the chair, then the assembly would now be actively considering the motion to amend, rather than the motion to order pizza for dinner.  In this case, it is termed that the amendment is the immediately pending question, although the main motion is still pending.  Only after the amendment has been voted upon will the assembly return to consideration of the motion to order pizza.


If the assembly voted to fail the amendment, then they would return to their main motion just as it had been before.  If they voted to adopt it, then they would return to their main motion, but it would be amended, so they would be considering the new question "to order pizza from Pizza Shack for dinner."  Then, after debate, the assembly would vote on the main motion.  Finally, all motions would be disposed of, and the assembly could either make another main motion or adjourn.


The other categories of motions are more complex and less often used, but important nonetheless.  These three are incidental motions (which relate back to the rules of parliamentary procedure), privileged motions (which propose common actions such as taking a recess or adjourning the meeting), and restorative motions (which take motions which have already been voted upon, and return them to consideration).


The depth of parliamentary procedure is considerable, but I encourage you attempt to learn all that you can. For further information, try out the abbreviated version of Robert's Rules of Order or a simplified guidebook before you delve right into the intimidating pages of Robert's Rules of Order.  Also, feel free to contact me at  if you have any questions.



Orlando - "The City Beautiful"

By Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary


Come visit the sunny city of Orlando, Florida, "The City Beautiful."  Not only is Orlando the location of the 2013 national TSA conference, it is home to the Walt Disney World theme parks and offers a wide variety of great dining and shopping opportunities.  As a TSA member, attending a national conference is a wonderful opportunity in itself, and if you can manage to visit some of Orlando's  premier attractions, you won't regret it!


As a full time Floridian, the city of Orlando is the tourist mecca that I call home, and is always buzzing with excitement!  From fine arts performances to theme and water parks, Orlando is a top vacation destination due to the variety of activities always taking place.  About fifty million people visit Florida yearly and Orlando is the most visited city in the state.  That's no surprise as Orlando is a city full of life with never a dull moment. 

If time allows, I recommend that you visit Universal Studios, Sea World, and Walt Disney World. All parks are filled with great entertainment, awesome roller coasters, and plus you get to see all your favorite characters come to life.  Some other fun destinations are Wet n' Wild, Aquatica, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach.  There are also many shopping and dining locations throughout the city, including the Florida Mall and the world's largest McDonald's.  Orlando offers many fun opportunities! 

So come visit Orlando, "the city beautiful" and make the 2013 national TSA conference your next destination! 



Now is the Time to Join Your Alumni Association

By Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer


Seniors, the school year is quickly coming to an end.  As you begin to send out your graduation announcements, pay college fees, pack your room and prepare for your last TSA conference as a student, take time to reflect on past TSA experiences.  Think about all the things you have accomplished through TSA and ask yourself, "What more can I do?"  It's true that you will no longer be a student and able to participate in competitions, but you can still be a vital part of TSA and help young rising TSA members thrive in the TSA world through the National TSA Alumni Association.

The mission of the national TSA Alumni Association is to serve as ambassadors for TSA and technology education by creating an environment where people and communities can develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.  By becoming part of this group, you will be able to serve TSA and its membership for many years to come.  Consider TSA without the support of today's alumni.  They work for the betterment of TSA; they push for the organization to grow as a whole; and most of all, they encourage TSA members to grow and succeed in society.

Whether you are just finishing high school or out of college, it is never too late to join the National TSA Alumni Association.  Graduating seniors can register as early as the 2013 national TSA conference and be a part of this influential association.  Membership in the alumni association is also a great way to stay connected with former competitors and to share your TSA experiences with upcoming TSA members.  So get up and join today!  For more information, go to and look for the "For Adults" dropdown menu, then click on "Alumni."  It's only a click away!


TSA:  Making the Green Difference 

By Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter  


TSA members are involved in many activities within the organization.  From competing in events, to running for office, to leadership activities, time and effort is invested each day to our beloved association.  But have you ever stopped to realize how we are also impacting our communities, country, and world?  One of the most significant ways TSA helps us to help others is by providing many community service project opportunities.  Service activities are an awesome way to show your appreciation for the people of your community and our beautiful planet.  This month is a great time to do just that!  On April 22nd,  you and your chapter can be part of the largest civic observance in the world:  Earth Day. 


Earth Day is a day celebrated each year worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection and to enhance, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement.  However, it does not stop there.  Earth Day works to broaden the definition of "environment" to include all issues that affect health, communities and our world.


Each year, a new aspect of this movement becomes the theme of Earth Day and there are many ways to get involved with Earth Day and its activities.  Communities all over the world host events on and around this day.  Cleaning up public parks and preserves, nature walks, museum tours, planting trees, and fundraising projects are just a few examples of the countless opportunities available for participants to get in on the fun!  


So let's get to it!  Talk to your chapter about taking part in this year's Earth Day.  Visit Earth Day Network's website ( to find out more about Earth Day and how you can do your part in making our world a greener, cleaner, healthier and happier place to live.  And remember, you can make every day an Earth Day!


TSA and the American Cancer Society

By Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms



For each of us, TSA has found a way to impact our lives as individuals.  Whether it has been through strengthening our leadership skills, igniting a passion for a particular field within us, or by empowering our creativity, TSA has no doubt changed the lives of its members.  But our organization as a whole is also having a tremendous impact on people who aren't even directly involved with TSA.  This has been most notably accomplished by our involvement with the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.


TSA has been partnered with the ACS since 2004 and in that time has raised thousands of dollars through the fantastic work that chapters, states, and our national organization have done which has raised awareness and funds for this great cause.


The hallmark event of TSA's involvement with the American Cancer Society, particularly on the chapter level, is the annual Relay for Life.  Over the past year I've been encouraged to see multiple posts and announcements on Facebook, Twitter, and other media about chapters (from all over) hosting Relay for Life events.  The ACS is certainly thankful for your involvement and all of TSA applauds the efforts!  According to the ACS website, Relay for Life is "a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.  At Relay events, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path.  Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.  Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length."


Putting on a Relay for Life event or raising money/ awareness for the ACS certainly demands a lot of work and effort on the part of those involved, and national TSA recognizes the efforts of individuals, chapters, and states who work so hard at spreading TSA's impact in the world.  For the past nine years, TSA has had a Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes those who raise money for the ACS and presents them with an award and hosting a reception at the national conference.  The three levels of recognition are based on the amount of money raised during the year and are as follows:  silver ($500-$999), gold ($1,000-$1,999), and purple ($2,000+).  Please visit to help us to keep track of all the great work you've done this year!  Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to the ACS.  And it's not too late to get involved for this year . . . you won't regret it.  We look forward to thanking you in person for the work you've done to help communities and impact the lives of millions of people who suffer from cancer every day.   



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:
Copyright 2008 TSA.