TSA takes home honors from WTSA State Conference
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The Washington Technology Student Association (WTSA) gathered in Yakima to compete in competitive events: 36 for high school students and 33 for middle school student for the 34th annual state conference, held from Thursday, March 16 through Saturday, March 18. Students from TSA chapters from around Washington state competed in various events that challenged students to show their skills in a wide range of areas, from technical writing to coding to engineering.
The convention was held primarily at the Yakima Convention Center, with some competitions held at the Red Lion and Howard Johnson hotels, where some of the state TSA members were staying. The 28 members of the MTHS TSA stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street from the convention center.
MTHS students placed in the finals 39 times in 14 different events. This was the third highest amount of finalists from any one high school and MTHS was only beaten by Henry M. Jackson High School and Tesla STEM High School.
There was a significant increase in the amount of MTHS TSA members who were finalists in their events from last year. At the 2016 state conference, MTHS had only 11 finalists in 3 different events.
The MTHS TSA chapter also won many other awards not related to the competitive events, such as TSA Silver Awards and the Blue Cap Membership Award.
The Silver Award is given to individual TSA members who demonstrate leadership abilities that go beyond their competitive events. TSA members must demonstrate excellence in areas such as leadership, community service and understanding of contemporary issues in technology to receive the award.
This year, WTSA gave the Silver Award to 10 individuals, five of whom came from MTHS, Cole Johnston, Reiden Chea, Meghan Park, Dylan Breuer and Nolan DeGarlais all received the award on stage during the business session of the conference on Friday, March 17.
During the business session, WTSA members meet to go over the current state of WTSA. Awards not related to the competitive events are handed out and the election for the new state officer team is conducted. This year’s business session featured a keynote speech from Dr. Jessica Chandler, who discussed planning out the future. She has her doctorate in obstetrics and gynecology.
The MTHS TSA chapter also had the honor of receiving the Blue Cap Membership award during the business session. This award is given to the high school chapter with the highest amount of affiliated members.
Additionally, MTHS TSA treasurer and sophomore Sophie Burbank was elected to become the next WTSA state treasurer by the statewide members. Burbank will now be tasked with keeping records and membership reports for WTSA.
MTHS TSA president and sophomore Reiden Chea, feels this year’s state conference was a huge success for the MTHS TSA chapter.
“My main goal for this year was to make a big splash at the state conference. We definitely accomplished that this year, getting on stage 39 times for 14 different events, winning the Blue Cap Membership Award and having five people from [the MTHS] chapter win the Silver Award out of ten people total,” Chea said.
Freshman Dylan Breuer won third place in the Biotechnology Design event. This was his first year competing in high school level TSA competitions.
“As a high school freshman up against high school seniors, I would say I did pretty good. Overall, the school chapter did amazing because almost everyone is a freshman or sophomore, but we managed to become finalists in 14 different events,” Breuer said.
As state finalists, many members of the MTHS TSA now qualify to attend the National TSA Conference held from June 21 to 25 in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel and convention center.