Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Students Place at National TSA Conference

Twenty-four CHCCS students from four different schools competed at the national Technology Student Association (TSA) conference in Dallas from June 28 to July 2.  The students brought back two, first place trophies and a second place trophy, as well as trophies for sixth and tenth place.  They also had two teams reach the semifinals and two students selected as NCTSA officers.

Teams from McDougle Middle brought home both first place trophies.  They won in Structural Engineering Models (team members Polina Ermoshkina and Jacob Meredith-Andrews) and in Flight (team member Angel Koshy).

A team from Phillips Middle brought home the second place trophy in Problem Solving (team members Mike Pudlo and Lydia Treml).

The other Top Ten finishes were both captured by McDougle Middle teams.  Students placed sixth in the Junior Solar Sprint (team members Polina Ermoshkina and Jacob Meredith-Andrews) and tenth in the Go Green Manufacturing competition (team members Sylvia Gordon, Kyle Halstater and Max Kurzman).

The McDougle Middle teams that reached the semifinals were Inventions and Innovations (team members Jayden Gumerman, Kyle Halstater and Max Kurzman) and the Chapter Team (team members James Crescenzi, Polina Ermoshkina, Kyle Halaster, Ian Jensen, Max Kurzman and Jacob Meredith-Andrews).

The two students who were elected as NCTSA officers are Jillian Breithaupt, treasurer, and Kyle Halstater, reporter.

"It's very refreshing to see our students grow in richer and more meaningful ways socially, emotionally and intellectually than could ever be measured on a standardized test," said Team Advisor Patrick Pudlo.  "For example, a middle school student, quite unsure of her abilities, now realizes that her effort in the flight event was not just good, it was THE best.  She is still hugging the trophy," he said.

"Another example is a group of middle school students who failed to read the problem solving event instructions carefully as sixth graders, as eighth graders, receive national recognition," Pudlo adds.

When speaking about the conference, Team Advisor Redmond Grigg said how much he appreciated the opportunity to take the students on this trip and what it can mean for the students.  "Worlds unseen suddenly open and connections are made and the results are priceless, regardless of accolades and awards garnered," said Grigg.

From McDougle Middle, team members are: James Crescenzi, Polina Ermoshkin, Sylvia Gordon, Jayden Gumerman, Noam Gumerman, Kyle Halstater, Ian Jensen, Angel Koshy, Max Kurzman, Jacob Meredith-Andrews, Erick Mickunas, Andrew Redinbo and Colby Reeve.

From Phillips Middle, team members are: Angad Grewal, Albert Huynh, Mike Pudlo and Lydia Treml.

From Chapel Hill High, team members are: Jillian Breithaupt, Bryanna Chazotte, Shera Chellani, Iain Dixon and Nathan Dixon.

From East Chapel Hill High, team members are: Luke Cunningham and Matt Pudlo.

Redmond Grigg advises both McDougle Middle and Chapel Hill High teams and Patrick Pudlo advises both Phillips Middle and East Chapel Hill High teams.

The team chaperones were Anne Halstater and Marne Meredith, whose guidance helped students throughout the conference.  "Whether it was helping students remember schedules and events, finding name tags or room keys, or nursing them in the middle of the night, as the week's festive atmosphere begins to catch up and take its toll, both Anne and Marne rose to the occasion," said Grigg.  "I am grateful for their willingness to participate, not only on behalf of their children, but on behalf of the other students, and on my behalf as well." he added.

TSA is a national organization with more than 200,000 middle and high school student members.  It is an opportunity for students who are engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to learn through challenging competitions, leadership opportunities and community service.  CHCCS students participate in TSA through their Career and Technology Education (CTE) classes at their schools.