Ithaca Students Place in Top 10 at National TSA Conference
Ithaca City School District teams earned a combined 11 top-ten finishes at the 40th Annual National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from June 22 to 26. Together, Ithaca High School and Dewitt Middle School TSA compose the New York State TSA delegation. Fifteen students from Ithaca High School and 14 from DeWitt Middle School competed at this year’s conference.
Competition involved over 8,000 participants from 48 states and several countries. TSA is one of the largest CTSOs (Career and Technical Student Organizations) in the United States and serves over 250,000 student members. The conference offered 65 competitive events ranging from science animation to robotics to debates on technological issues.
Ithaca High School’s Technology Bowl team of Andrei Tumbar, Tilden Chao, and Joseph Yoon took first place in the Technology Bowl competitive event. This event is highly similar to quiz bowl competitions, but is solely focused on technology. Traditionally, Technology Bowl is one of the most challenging events, with scores of teams and hundreds of total competitors. The team competed head-to-head in a bracket system against teams from across the country.
Chao also took home a first-place trophy in the Prepared Presentation competitive event. In this event, competitors received a presentation topic on-site and produced a presentation and slide deck in just 24 hours. Chao tied the unofficial record for the most top-ten finishes in a single national conference from a New York member with five.
Ithaca High School boasted an impressive seven total top-ten finishes rounded out by:
5th place in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (Andrei Tumbar, Tilden Chao)
5th place in Webmaster (Andrei Tumbar, Joseph Yoon, Tilden Chao, Felix Shi)
6th place in Music Production (Eli Zhang, Matthew Guo, Francesca Chu, Jenny Yoon)
7th place in Extemporaneous Speech (Tilden Chao)
9th place in Children’s Story (Eli Zhang, Matthew Guo, Francesca Chu, Jenny Yoon)
DeWitt Middle School’s Paula Carrillo brought home the middle school’s biggest prize, taking second place in the Computer Aided Design (CAD) Foundations competitive event. Carrillo and more than 80 other competitors were given the task of creating a two-dimensional graphic representation of an engineering part or object using Autodesk Inventor CAD software.
DeWitt also earned:
4th place in CAD Foundations (Lukas Jander)
4th place in Systems Control (Xuyan Dong, Jackson Martin, Declan Poles)
7th place in Construction Challenge (Lukas Jander, Xuyan Dong, Paula Carrillo, Grace Lim, Stephen Yang)
Aside from victories in competitive events, this conference was also a landmark event in New York State’s participation in TSA student government. Ithaca High School’s Felix Shi ran for the position of national treasurer; he is among the few New York TSA members who have ever run for a national office position. In a talented and competitive pool of five treasurer candidates, Shi held his ground and brought honor to New York State. Even though he didn’t win, TSA members will remember Shi’s speeches and performance for years to come.
Student activities in TSA are made possible through the efforts of teacher advisors. Ithaca High School’s Scott Breigle and Karen Kiechle, DeWitt’s David Buchner and Nathan Taylor, along with New York state advisor Evie Weinstein dedicated long nights and many hours to the success of the students.
“I am always so proud of our students many accomplishments, not just for consistently being on stage but in how they interact and support one another. When I see all the students supporting each other, laughing together, applying things they have learned, it is an amazing feeling. The students that participate in TSA are a wonderful group that I am truly happy to be involved with,” says Karen Kiechle, a high school advisor.
The teams’ participation in the national competition was made possible by support from the Ithaca City School District, teacher advisors, and fundraising campaigns organized by the teams and IthacaSTEM Advocates, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI). The teams are already planning and raising funds for next year’s 41st annual national TSA conference in Washington D.C.