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

Sun Jul 3, 2016

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. Longview High School sent 25 students to the national competition, while Foster sent 33.

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."

It was a curtain call for LHS Class of 2016 Salutatorian Trevor O'Connor, who placed with the Manufacturing Prototype team in addition to serving as national TSA Sergeant-at-Arms.

“This year I served as the 2015-2016 national TSA Sergeant-at-Arms at the national TSA conference ... I spent my time working with the executive director of TSA, corporate board members, and the national officer coordinator to rehearse general sessions and create policies for TSA that would affect members during their week at the conference," he said. " I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and to gain such business and career experience as a high school student and to help lead an organization with almost a quarter of a million members. As a graduating senior, I am excited to see how much the grades below me have stepped up and have continued to build the Longview TSA legacy.  I believe the future of Longview TSA is strong and I am so proud to have gotten to work with my advisor, Mr. Charles Mosley, and all those who have supported my journey.”

Finishing first in the country was the LHS Chapter Team of Ejehi Ihionkhan, Levi Grant, Uwa Ihionkhan, Stephanie Guck, Brady Miller, and Krisana Yuen.

Uwa Ihionkhan said since this was her last National TSA Conference as a member, she wanted to make her time in Nashville memorable.

"I made an effort to be involved and invested in my events, while making time to network and explore the entertainment opportunities in the Opryland Gaylord. Although this task challenged me to thrive off of only a few hours of sleep, I was more than willing to push through it because sleep deprivation is just as much a part of TSA as our motto," she said. "Speaking of our motto, our motto was amended from 'learning to live in a technical world' to 'learning to lead in a technical world' in a riveting three-hour business meeting."

Fellow senior Krisana Yuen agreed, adding that she is just grateful for "all of the opportunities I have been given and lessons I have learned in this organization, particularly this year."

"As a member of chapter team, one of the most competitive events in TSA, I spent countless hours with my fellow teammates by practicing four times a week for at least two hours a day since the end of school, including one overnight practice!" she said with a laugh. "Cramming parliamentary procedure into my brain endlessly has not only given me knowledge for the future on how a proper business meeting should be run, but also showed me how to work seamlessly with a team while still having fun."

"Every ounce of hard work that our team put into practicing was completely worth it. Earning the title of national champs was the perfect way to end my final year of tsa,” Krisana added.

Uwa said the real prize is the tremendous support the team receives from our family, friends, and district.

"My heart is full, I have memories that will last a lifetime, and the trophies are truly only another memento," she said.

Winning silver in Children's Stories competition was the team of Christopher Guck, Naomi D’Arbell, Rutvi Patel, Anthony Castillo, and Alexander Lammers.

Taking third place in Photographic Technology was LHS junior Daniele Farren.

Other results from the National TSA Contest in Nashville include:

6th Place, Manufacturing Prototype: Nitin Rangu, Soumya Donty, Krisana Yuen, Trevor O’Connor, Ben Taylor, Sam Pistone.

“As a senior who has attended nationals every year, the 2015-2016 national TSA conference will forever hold a special place in my heart," said Soumya Donty. "From seeing my friends i have made over the past four years, to feeling the rush of excitement and suspense as the speaker calls our school's name as we go on stage, this year has truly been remarkable. I am so thankful for everything that TSA has given me, and I will cherish all of these memories for the rest of my life.”

8th Place, Engineering Design: Daniel Bally, Rutvi Patel, Christopher Guck, and Neal Rangu.

9th Place, Biotechnology Design: Soumya Donty, Krisana Yuen, Kathryn Roper, Samantha Taylor, Surya Donty, and Uwa Ihionkhan.

9th Place, Prepared Presentation: Payton Schaap.

10th Place, Chapter Team (Written Test): Levi Grant, Sophomore.

While not achieving victory at Nationals, junior Aaron Brown said he was still richly rewarded for his efforts.

“My experience at TSA nationals was filled with lessons," he said. "I focused hard on my main event with little regard for the other two members, but come time for the awards ceremony, seeing the whole of my TSA chapter celebrating their peer’s victories showed me that I had looked at TSA from the wrong angle. I need to pursue victory, but not by myself, but with my whole team.”

Other members of the Longview High School TSA team shared their thoughts as well...

Jason Randall: “This was my first attendance of the national conference. I was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of all TSA members who competed and enjoyed seeing lots of new events in which I can compete in next year. I also learned more about the requirements for the events that I've worked on this past year, and I am excited to work even harder towards placing in next year’s competition.”

Naomi D'Arbell: “My experience at the 2016 National TSA Conference is easily the most memorable out of the three conferences I have attended. I have vastly improved in all my events, especially Children's Stories, in which my team placed 2nd in the nation, a first time finalist placing in this relatively new event for Longview. In addition, I enjoyed being surrounded by so many driven teens who encourage and exemplify hard work and dedication, including other members of the Longview chapter. Viewing competitive events and attending meetings with my classmates turned into an intellectual bonding experience that will motivate us to perform at an even higher level in our coming senior year.”

Christopher Guck: “TSA nationals was such a great experience. Being able to see all of our hard work manifest into national titles has really taught me the value of hard work and dedication. Healthy competition between all of the top technology student associations across the country is really exciting and memorable. I would not trade my TSA nationals experience for anything. Being my second national conference, I brought the experience and wisdom that I gained from last year and improved in all of my events this year.”

Daniele Farren: “Attending the national TSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee has allowed me to grow both as an individual and with my chapter. Competing on a national level gave us the opportunity to connect with other members from across the nation as well as Turkey and Germany. I had the chance to compete for the second year in Photographic Technology, where my imagination and originality was put to the test in the semifinal round. I was able to learn more about myself and the art of photography through my presentation and my fellow competitors work. My growth through this year's competition has sparked my excitement for upcoming conferences and the success of our chapter makes me proud to be a Lobo.”

Rutvi Patel: “Attending the national conference is Nashville has given me the opportunity to connect with and compete against teams and members from all over the nation. This year I competed in Children Stories, Engineering Design, and Digital Video Production. I learned more about other events and viewed the finals for some events, such as Future Technology Teacher and Technology Bowl. After viewing these events I was amazed at the level of competition present in each event and how important hard work is in order to succeed in TSA. My team placed second in Children's Stories which was rewarding after all the hard work and dedication we put into our book. The Engineering Design event this year was very competitive and although my team placed in the top ten, there is stuff to be learned. The national conference introduced me to people all over the country and the world while participating in and learning from the competitive events. The Nationals experience is something that is invaluable and I can't wait until the one next year!”

Daniel Bally: “I enjoyed my time at National TSA in Nashville, Tennessee. I had lots of fun interacting with the other chapters who were attending the competition. I liked talking with people from other states and finding similarities with them. This was my 2nd time to attend a national TSA conference so I was familiar with the vast amount of people there. I did well in all of my events although I did not rank among the top 10 in one of my events. I competed in two events this year, Flight Endurance and Engineering Design, both of which are associated with engineering. Although i did not have quite as much fun as I had at Dallas Nationals due to the Nashville Gaylord being much more complex and confusing, I definitely made many great memories and I am excited and ready for nationals next year in Orlando.”

Lucy Castillo: “During my third national conference, I was able to see Longview High School TSA grow closer and more competitive. Seeing all of the other national competitors was inspiring. It's amazing to think that our peers are the future of technology. Competing in Future Technology Teacher and Digital Video Production allowed me to see how valuable a STEM education can be and how integral teamwork is. From General Assemblies to voting for next year's national officers, this conference makes me excited for my senior year and the growth of TSA. Seeing our school's accomplishments fills me with pride and I can't wait to see how much we improve in the years to come.”

Neal Rangu: “The 2015-2016 TSA National Conference in Nashville was one of the most exciting experiences I have had so far in my high school career. To have the opportunity to meet fellow students all over the country and world was really a unique experience. As a member of the LHS chapter, it was quite memorable to see a lot of "firsts" for our chapter at TSA nationals such as having our first ever first place finish from the chapter team, the children's story team earning a well-deserved second place trophy, and our first national conference run by an officer from Longview. Personally, I was excited about the success that my group and I were able to achieve in engineering design. Being able to participate in essays on technology and technology bowl was also interesting. TSA nationals was an amazing experience and hopefully our chapter will continue our tradition of success next year in Orlando.”

Stephanie Guck: “Nationals 2015-2016 will be a year for the history books. This year I was participating in two events, Chapter Team and Prepared Presentation. In my previous year, I did not get to enjoy the conference much due to an onsite event, this time I had a few different events that allowed me to have more time. I was able to make more friends and create memories that are unforgettable. This conference I will always be so unique and unforgettable; it was the year Chapter Team won first place at Nationals. After months and months of tests, studying, meetings, and practices, hearing our name being called for first place made all of our hard work worth it. I would not trade the joy, laughter, and success that happened at this conference for anything. Thank you so much TSA, I cannot wait for the years to come.”

Levi Grant: “This was my second time attending the TSA national conference. This year I competed in both the Chapter Team Oral Presentation event and the Chapter team written test. I finished as a top ten finalist in the written test, which was an individual event, and the Longview high school chapter team, which I have been lucky enough to be on for two years, placed first place in the nation. From these successes I have learned how hard work pays off in the world, and that it's always worth going the extra mile when it comes to practice and preparation. Being part of such a great team of dedicated people has helped me to develop skills that I will use later in life with other groups I may be a part of. This year has inspired me to work even harder next year, and I hope we can bring home the first place trophy once again next time we compete.”

Payton Schaap: "Placing 9th in our Nation, I learned to believe in myself, witnessed that hard work does pay off, and now know to never give up on your dreams. Yes, it sounds cliché, but there is truth behind every one of those lessons. I have gained a new confidence and belief in myself allowing me to see that I can "design my future" to be whatever I want it to be. TSA every year takes my breath away with the memories, experiences, and lessons each and every one of us leave with. TSA is a passion and so much more than an organization. TSA, for me, is home.”

Brady Miller: “Having been to Nationals already, this year was honestly quite different. Last year I just saw it as the monstrosity that it is. But, as I said, having been once already, the size didn't faze me this time; however, it was the beauty. The beauty of the hotel was great, but the beauty of walking into a general session with 8,000 was better. The beauty of seeing conference rookies' smiles on their faces. The joy of making it on stage. The true beauty of TSA was present at this year’s national conference. I competed in Chapter Team, which is 6 officers holding business meetings, complying with parliamentary procedure, and more specifically, Robert's Rules of Order. We ended getting first out of around 200 teams. A feat our advisor, of 14 years, has never seen happen to one his students. So in essence, this year’s National Conference was the best week of my life.”

Kathryn Roper: “Imagine spending a week with 7,500 people who think the exact same way you do. Every one of those students has motivation and a thirst for knowledge, that's what being a TSA member is all about. My second year at TSA nationals was incredible. My team and I earned being finalists for biotechnology design after working tirelessly throughout the year. After having experienced nationals at a middle school level, I was motivated to qualify for TSA nationals because it is always an unforgettable experience.”

Sam Pistone: “TSA was one of the best choices I had ever made. It has opened doors for me that I never thought I could open by allowing me to explore different areas of science, technology, engineering and math. This year was my second year to attend the national competition and TSA has already made a lasting impact on my life. It has taught me how to work together in a group to accomplish a goal, how to hold a professional business meeting and how fun it can be to beat out hundreds of other competitors from all across the country.”