GOSHEN — Members of Goshen High School’s chapter of the Indiana Technology Student Association are in celebration mode following a stellar performance at the fifth annual Indiana TSA State Conference late last month.
Held virtually this year due to COVID-19, the event, which took place the weekend of April 23, featured a total of 112 students from across the state participating in 22 different competitive events related to engineering and technology.
A sampling of the events featured at this year’s competition included engineering design, dragster, STEM careers, future technology teacher and coding.
“Students in TSA compete in engineering and technology events throughout the state and while doing so learn valuable skills in leadership, perseverance, collaboration, communication, as well as many other skills that will aid students in being successful throughout their lives,” William Richman, the state advisor for Indiana TSA, said of the competition.
Jen Yoder, a GHS engineering and technology teacher and sponsor of the GHS TSA chapter, agreed.
“TSA is a great club that truly focuses on problem solving in many forms,” Yoder said. “The activities and competitions allow students to utilize their gifts in a multitude of subject areas, while building teamwork and collaboration skills all in a fun environment.”
According to Yoder, this year’s competition differed significantly from previous years due to the event being held 100% virtually, where in the past students would travel to a designated college campus to physically compete.
“There were a lot more logistics involved and multiple due dates for various entries, along with having to ship projects ahead of time so the judges would have them on competition days,” Yoder said of the changes. “In the past, we just showed up on the first day of competition with all of our projects, so everyone had the same due date. It was definitely a lot to keep track of this year.
“But the students did an amazing job of keeping track of everything they needed to do and working together to help each other out,” she added of the competition. “We had a few minor technical glitches on competition days, but students were quick on their feet to come up with solutions.”
Altogether, a total of seven GHS teams ended up placing at the state event. A breakdown of the teams and their members includes:
• On-Demand Video — Cameron Schneider, Brenton Pham, Josh Schrock and Jesus Rodriguez Ortiz
• Children’s Stories — Guadalupe Diaz Macias, Pham and Rodriguez Ortiz
• Essays on Technology — Fernanda Mendoza
• Coding — Harajit Rao and Schrock
• Technology Bowl — Will Franks, Rao and Schrock
• 3D CAD Engineering — Schrock
• Structural Engineering & Design — Sophia Koshmider and Nataly Esqueda
“TSA is an intra-curricular, meaning that teachers and students can use competitive events as class projects, although Goshen High School runs their chapter solely as a club,” Yoder added of the GHS chapter. “GHS students do not have a class period to prepare for TSA competitions, as some schools do. They participate in TSA activities before or after school, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Student Resource Time.”
With their wins at the state event, qualifying GHS students will now move forward to represent Indiana at the TSA National Conference, which will also be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 instead of taking place in Orlando, Fla., as originally planned.
While the national conference would normally be a four-day event with numerous competitions happening at once, Yoder noted that this year’s conference will take place from June 1 through June 25, and be limited to just a few competitions per day.
“Going to nationals in several events is definitely a highlight of this year, but the true prize is the resiliency and perseverance I witnessed in all of the students,” Yoder noted. “Those skills will last them a lifetime and really that’s what it’s all about.”
Schrock, president of the high school’s TSA chapter and a national qualifier, agreed.
“I’m really proud of how we did considering we are a club while other schools take it as a whole class. We did this in a short time span,” Schrock said of his fellow club members. “I’m excited to go to nationals.”
According to Yoder, the club needs to register for nationals by May 15, so will be spending the next few days working hard to improve their state entries and doing some fast fundraising to cover the $70-per-student registration fee.
“Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to do any of our normal fundraisers this year,” Yoder said, “so we need to really think outside of the box, which this group can definitely do!”