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Just last week on March 16th, 17th, and 18th, TSA members went to the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia and competed in the TSA State Conference.
by Dani Young
Just last week on March 16th, 17th, and 18th, TSA members went to the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia and competed in the TSA State Conference. Among the members, Sarah Thomas (junior), Zachary Schrack (junior), and Matthew Bovenkerk (sophomore) were thrilled to express their experience and successes there.
Exciting news struck at the TSA State Conference this year! Sarah Thomas was elected to serve as the TSA State Board Secretary, which is Walnut Grove’s first ever student to serve as a TSA state officer. Becoming a state officer took a lot of time, effort, and dedication. “You have to take [the statesman test] first…and you have to get an 85 or higher to even meet the requirements to apply for state office,” Sarah stated. She went on to say, “...then you have to go to at least three conferences that consecutive year, and you have to fill out an application. If you meet the minimum requirements, they give you an interview.” If an applicant’s interview is accepted, then he or she will “give a speech in front of the delegation, which I believe this past conference had around 3000 people,” Sarah concluded.
To even apply for state office is a long process, which if you get elected, is well worth it. Sarah looks “forward to working with the other officers who got elected…[and] help make TSA better, or move it towards the direction where the things that could be improved are improved.” Not only is Sarah excited for what the future holds in TSA, but she is “really grateful and honored to be a part of this program.”
In the Manufacturing Prototype event, Zachary Schrack, Serenity Bynum, and Karli Hardy, placed second. The prototype Zachary and his partners made a model of the liberty bell. Zachary revealed their key to success was using the “engineering process…brainstorming…making [draft] prototypes, and then finalizing [their] thing.” Designing the liberty bell seems simple on paper, but Zachary explained that he “designed the liberty bell in the CAD program, and then printed it on the 3D printer.” He further described how he, Serenity, and Karli worked together to make a frame to hold up the liberty, so they could swing it. Thinking back on what they could have done better, Zachary talked about doing more in a short period of time. “We tried to do a sound system for it and lights,” Zachary explained, “but we ran out of time.” When it was announced that Zachary and his partners placed second, he exclaimed, “it was shocking…I wasn’t very confident we would place top 3, but when we did, I was kind of shell shocked.”
In another event called Dragster Design, which is basically a smaller version of drag racing, sophomore Matthew Bevonkerk placed fourth out of seventy. Matthew worked solo to build a dragster, which is built solely, “out of wood [with] a CO2 cartridge in the back, and there’s a machine that pokes a hole in the cartridge, so it basically explodes the dragster to go fast,” he explained. When asked on how he felt about placing fourth, Matthew didn’t have much to say other than, “it is what it is. It’s not first, but it’s not last.” Not only are the competitors judged on their dragster, but they are also judged on a drawing of their dragster and an interview. In the interview, competitors had to explain how he or she built it, which plays a big factor in what place they receive. Looking back on the interview, Matthew expressed that he felt he “didn’t like explain it very well.” On the other hand, Matthew felt he did great on “the wheels and the car basically; it was smooth. The bearings rolled really well, [and] they rolled straight. It was a good weight; it was very light.”
With all the success and the lessons learned, the 2023 TSA State Conference is definitely one for the books. Members that are coming back next year are eager and excited for what next year holds.
The Viridian Staff would also like to congratulate every other member that competed in the conference.
Structural Engineering → Luke Wingard and Matthew Bovenkerk
Board Game Design → Sarah Thomas, Sarah Smith, Karli Hardy
Essay → Gracie Hunt
Prepared Presentation → Kailee Lewis
Solar Sprint → Brycen Grooms and Tyler Etheridge
Technology Problem Solving → Daniel Siggers and Luke Wingard
Transportation Modeling → Daniel Siggers
Webmaster → Caden Watson, Hunter Cook, Kassidy Harris, Dinera Fernando, and Zoe Higdon
Photography → Megan Brown
Solar Sprint → Gemir Rounsaville and Josh Rampersad
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