TSA students reflect on Nationals victory

Longview High School technology and engineering students finished at or near the top last month during the Technology Student Association's national competition, continuing a tradition of excellent while also setting the stage for future achievement.

TSA students reflect on Nationals victory

Tue Jun 27, 2017

Longview High School technology and engineering students finished at or near the top last month during the Technology Student Association's national competition, continuing a tradition of excellent while also setting the stage for future achievement.

The Technology Student Association is a national nonprofit organization of middle and high school students who engage and compete in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. About 32,000 students in Texas take part in TSA.

More than 50 LISD students traveled to Nashville for nationals after finishing among the best at state meets last month.

Career Technology instructor Charles Mosley said the accomplishment confirms that the students who attend Longview ISD "are as bright, intelligent, and motivated as any students in the country."

Rutvi Patel, graduating Senior: This summer, I attended my last ever TSA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, and I have to say it was one of the best trips I have ever taken. I am grateful to have had a chance to compete in three events at the national level for three years of high school; all the hard work that I put into creating my events during the school year and improving them in the summer was worth the experience of nationals. It is very rewarding to compete nationally against other student who were at the top of their respective states, and even more rewarding when we place in the top ten nationally. In addition to competition between other states, and even some other countries, I enjoyed meeting new people from around the country and catching up with friends from past years. I especially enjoyed the seniors only meeting, where I had the chance to meet other seniors in TSA who were heading to the same college as me. In a hotel where most of the faves are strangers, it is nice to have the backing and presence of other chapters from Texas. The nights when we had state only delegation meetings were also entertaining; it felt like I was back in Waco for our state conference, surrounded by people from all over Texas. TSA has been a major part of my life throughout my high school career, and I am unfortunately done with this organization; the experience of this past national conference was a bittersweet one, but I will be forever grateful for the skills I have learned and the friends I have made.

Brady Miller, incoming Senior: The Technology Student Association is an organization that has given me far more than I could begin to describe. It's a place that I can really call home. Having been in TSA for 3 years now, I can honestly say that it's changed my life.

When I started in TSA in 8th grade at Foster Middle School, I didn't expect it to be something I would cherish so much.

After going to the national competition in Dallas in June 2015, I was hooked. I didn't place in the top 10 in any of my events, but I knew that this was the place for me.

Going back to Nationals last year in Nashville —  after many months of long hard work with 25 other Longview High School students —  was personally satisfying. With the help of my five teammates on the Chapter Team, using Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure in general, we conducted practice business meeting after practice business meeting. At that National competition in Nashville, we reached the pinnacle: winning 1st place in the nation out of at least 200 teams. The joy of winning after all that work was simply amazing.

But winning last year doesn't mean we could just sit back and expect to win this past year. I would actually say we worked harder this year because of the win last year. Before, we were working hard trying to beat the previous year’s winner, just like almost every time at the competition. This year we were the team everyone was gunning for. We were the ones everyone was trying to top.  I think the win last year has made all of our returning members just that much more anxious for this year. We've put in countless hours of work, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we wouldn't trade for the world.

After more than a week of sheer pleasure, the 2017 National Competition has come to a close. Even though our competitions didn't go they way we wanted to, and we didn't come home with any trophies, I think we took away more from this trip than any trip before. The friends we made at nationals, the memories that we'll forever cherish, and the valuable life lessons made the 36 hour round trip worth it.

This competition has just fueled the fire for next year. Just speaking for Chapter Team, we got first in the nation last year. To go from 1st to 4th was surprising, but it has made us realize that no matter what you've done in your past, you can't rely on that to propel you for the future. Just because we were best in the nation a year ago doesn't mean we were or should have been this year. Last year there was no place to go but down, and this year, it's going to be quite the opposite.

Payton Schaap, incoming Senior: My third TSA National conference was indubitably a life changing experience that I will never forget. There is nothing that can parallel to meeting members all across our nation from Washington to Florida to New York or even Germany, Turkey, and Japan. Having the opportunity to be surrounded by 8,000 other students with the same ambitions, initiative, and affinity for TSA allows you to feel like you are home. There's a place for everyone here with our blue button up shirts, grey slacks, and navy Blazers; however, what I really took back from this trip was how to be a leader.

In April, at our state conference, I was elected as our 2017-2018 Texas TSA Vice President. So this June, I stood next to my friend, Brady Miller, and was sworn into office the second night of this National TSA conference. From that moment on, my life had changed because I now represented 32,000 Texas TSA members. Throughout the rest of the trip, the new officer team learned what went on behind the scenes of nationals whether it was voting for amendments at our business meeting, discussing state affairs with different officers from GA, CO, NM, or PA, or simply smuggling snacks for the Texas delegation during meetings. The essence of the quote, "With great power, comes great responsibility'" was taken into account and executed. Despite the disappointment I have for not placing in the top ten in my extemporaneous speaking and problem solving events, this national TSA conference was still transcendent.

TSA every year comprehensively takes my breath away with the memories, experiences, and lessons each that  everyone of us leave with. TSA is a passion and so much more than an organization. I would love to thank our district for supporting us and allowing us to afford to go to nationals because TSA, for us, is home.