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Students reflect on Technology Student Association competition

Students attending the conference pictured from L to R: (Back) Logan Volk, Ali Ressler, Julie Hahn and Advisor Danielle Kamrud. (Front) Rose McNamee, Katie Merkel and Allison Inman. Submitted photo

Six Students from Cheney Middle School in West Fargo were in Dallas, Texas from June 20 to June 25 to compete in the Technology Student Association (TSA) National Competition - Julie Hahn, Allison Inman, Rose McNamee, Katie Merkel, Allison Ressler and Logan Volk. First year Chapter Advisor Danielle Kamrud accompanied the students, along with a few parent chaperones.

Over 4,000 students and advisors were in attendance with this year's theme "Snapshot of Innovation."  

McNamee placed seventh in Digital Photography to receive a finalist pin. Inman placed third in the Nation for Career Prep to receive a trophy as well as seventh in Graphic Design to receive a finalist pin. All six students received Leadership Special Interest Certification as well as a leadership pin to wear on their lapel. Less than 150 students received this honor for attending five leadership sessions throughout the week.

In order to attend nationals, TSA students called and wrote local businesses in the Fargo-Moorhead area asking for support. With the help of parents, they also participated in local fundraisers. The group said they are most appreciative of all the businesses that supported them in order to make the trip possible.

At the conclusion of the trip to Dallas, students were asked to reflect on their experiences, which follow.

Julie Hahn -- My involvement in the Technology Student Association has been a positive experience for me and I learned to work with different students. The website design competition involved a team of four students and we worked well together in completing the website. One of my national competitions was Techno Talk. We were communicating through cell phone technology and I found it challenging to communicate in this way. I worked with another student from a different state and we built a structure and then gave instructions to the other team on how to build the same structure. This competition helped me to relate to people, similar to working in the real world.

Earning a leadership pin was another great learning experience. The pin signifies that you have attended all the leadership sessions which taught me to: Encourage the Heart, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, Inspire a Shared Vision, and Model the Way. This was a highlight for me on the trip to Dallas.

Allison Inman -The Technology  Student Association (TSA) has been a great experience for me as a student. As I was a voting delegate, I got to participate in the Annual Business Meeting by voting for the new National Officer Team. The election was very similar to a real election as the candidates campaigned and representatives from each state voted for who they thought would best represent the students in TSA.

I participated in an event called Career Prep. For this event, I had to choose a career from a list (I chose web designer) and research that career in order to write a resume and cover letter that someone entering that field may have. This event was not available at the state level so all the work I did was for the national conference. The resume and cover letter had to be completed prior to the conference, but I filled out a job application on site. Twelve semifinalists were determined based on these three things. I was one of them and then participated in a mock job interview. Every aspect of this project was something I had never done before, making it an excellent learning experience that will give me an advantage when I'm applying for a real life job. Overall, I think that the Technology Student Association National Conference has been a positive experience that I will carry with me forever.

Rose McNamee - When my chapter from TSA attended the national conference it was a whole world of new experiences. Being at the conference for our first year of TSA really let us get a feel for what the competitions and judges expect from us. Some of the things that I learned from being in the program this year were how to prepare for the jobs that we will have in the future that are always becoming ever more challenging. I also learned about leadership through five hour-long sessions that better fine-tuned our leadership skills, as well as the life skills that we acquired through the many new experiences and meeting new people. Another thing that I learned was what to expect from your competitors, seeing others projects so that you can try to make yours the best that it can be. Some things that I enjoyed about going to the conference were that we had the opportunity to meet others TSA members from all over the U.S.A. and Germany, this was during the opening ceremony where members could talk and trade pins from their state. I also really enjoyed the competitions. We were able to get our project as good as could be and then they were judged and if you made it to the top 12, in many of the competitions, you got to the semi-finals and did another project and/or interview for the finals. I was one of the lucky ones taking seventh in the nation for Digital Photography. Going to the National TSA Conference and just being in the TSA program was very beneficial to all the members and will help us with the skills we will need in the real world when we are older and have jobs.

Ali Ressler - I learned a lot in TSA this year, that everything in technology is not computers and T.V. It's building and creating.  I even had the great experience of going to nationals in Dalla0s, Texas. While I was there I attended five leadership strategy classes. I learned a lot of things to be a better leader, such as talking louder when you are talking to a group of people so they can hear you better and influencing others to do good things that may help them later in life. I also competed in a new event which I had never done before, "Techno Talk," which I found it to be challenging and fun.  My favorite part of the conference was meeting a lot of new people from around the United States. It was a learning experience I will never forget!

  Logan Volk - My experience, being a part of TSA for 2011 and attending the TSA National Conference in Dallas, Texas has been phenomenal. I have learned new things such as programming code, what kinds of things have visual appeal, and I have tried a lot of new things. Before I was in TSA I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up but now I know that I want to do something with graphic design, website design, or

prepared speech. These events taught me a lot about all three career choices. TSA has added to my knowledge and has made me want to learn more and more. It has also made me want to become more involved with this organization.

  The leadership training sessions at the conference taught you how to be a good leader, what a leader does, and we talked about some of the great leaders in history. I always like being a leader so these sessions built on what I already knew. I believe that TSA will make me a better student because it provided valuable life skills, from people skills to technological skills that you can be applied at school. Overall I am very glad that I joined TSA and I will continue to be involved for the rest of middle school and high school and will help TSA a an adult, whether it be judging, being a part of the TSA Alumni, or encouraging my kids to join TSA.

Katie Merkel - Going to Dallas, Texas, was an outstanding experience for me.  I learned a great deal that I probably wouldn't have learned anywhere else.  I learned that it's okay if you're not a finalist; it's a huge accomplishment just to get to Nationals (winning is not everything).  I also learned about leadership and how to apply it.  There were talks about how to: Encourage the Heart; Inspire a Shared Vision; Model the Way; Encourage Others to Act; and Challenge the Process. These discussions taught me that leaders just don't have to be people up on stage or the outgoing kids at school.  Everyone can be leaders, even quiet people like me. 

It's great to compete in different competitions so you can learn about different areas of technology. At Nationals, I competed in Dragster, Multimedia Production, and Leadership Strategies. I learned, from competing in Dragster that technology can be anything; from a bandsaw, to an Exacto knife, to the car itself. I learned that, from Multimedia Production, you can do fine detail not only with your hands, but also on the computer. For Leadership Strategies, I learned that two or three heads really are better than one, and this is coming from a person who likes to work alone.

As a voting delegate, I learned skills that will last a lifetime: I learned how to look past empty promises and polished lies.  These skills will help me later in life, when I have to make important decisions.      

I have a strong passion for Technology Student Association, and I plan and hope to be in it all through high school and when I'm an adult.  I encourage people to participate in TSA and I hope that they find it as rewarding as I have.