WHS TSA — On the national stage

Shown at the nation’s Capitol, from left, are freshman Nicole Holmberg, junior Colton Lee, junior Brandon Rodriguez, freshman Dhruval Rangrej, junior Liam Hill and junior Leslie Martinez. 


Students from the Career & Technical Student Organization represented Waxahachie ISD at the Technology Student Association National Conference held June 28-July 2 in Washington, D.C. 

TSA serves students enrolled in Career & Technology Education courses aligned with these six career clusters: Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communication; Architecture and Construction; Business, Management and Administration; Information Technology; Manufacturing; and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Participants enjoy the experience of applying classroom and laboratory lessons in hands-on activities or competitive events.

This year’s conference theme was “Model the Way,” as national TSA marks more than four decades of enhancing personal development, leadership and career opportunities in STEM through intra-curricular activities, competitions and other programs.

The WHS Sci-Viz (scientific visualization) team of Leslie Martinez, Liam Hill, Colton Lee and Nicole Holmberg competed amongst 75 other competitors creating an animation over a scientific principle and portfolio to document the process. This team, being first-time members of TSA and competitors, was excited for the opportunity to represent Waxahachie High School and WISD and have plans to compete in the same event next year, taking what they learned while in D.C. into next year.

The WHS Structural Design and Engineering team of Dhruval Rangrej and Brandon Rodriguez made their first appearance at TSA Nationals. After taking third at state contest and studying with former WHS/TSA alumnus and national structural winner Thomas Caliendo, Rangrej and Rodriquez were set to make the top 12 semifinals; however, the team was disqualified for an improper lamination in their bridge. After having their bridge tested by the judges for further learning, their bridge held 393 pounds of pressure, which was the second highest weight held for the entire contest. 

The Computer Integrated Manufacturing team consisted of freshmen Nicole Holmberg and Colton Lee.  Students competing in this event were to design a STEM-based toy with the theme of the hosting city.  

Using the tools in the WHS production lab, Holmberg and Lee created an interlocking puzzle of three layers, each of which had a maze, with the structure featuring a ball bearing that would make its way through each level. The cityscape of the Washington, D.C., skyline was embossed on the outside of the box that encompassed the full structure. The project was entirely 3D-printed.  

The Digital Photography event was entered by Kadin Vire for a third year. This event had a theme of “Landscape of Seasons,” where students submitted five photos taken and edited to fit the theme. While at the national conference, Vire also participated with the Texas TSA State Leadership team helping with the state delegation meetings. During the second state delegation meeting, Vire led a group of more than 50 Texas TSA students born in June through an activity to get to know each other using this year’s theme of “Model the Way.”

While at the national conference, students attended sessions that included “Want to Be an Engineer” and a special interest session on the LEAP Leadership Challenge. General sessions included “Learning to Fail,” a topic presented by a former TSA national officer.  

More than 250,000 TSA members across the United States are “learning to lead in a technical world,” a spokesman said. “The students from Waxahachie High School represented WISD strongly and the future is bright for TSA at WHS.”

For more information about TSA events at WHS, contact Shyla Vire at svire@wisd.org or James Parker at japarker@wisd.org, or by calling 972-923-4614.

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