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LHS places 4th at TSA state meet

TSA competed at the Colorado State Technology Student Association Thursday, February 23-25. In total, there were 48 students that competed at the meet.

TSA takes place every year at the Denver Tech Center Marriott. However, the meet was so big this year that LHS actually stayed at the Hyatt by the Denver Tech Center, as many of the middle schools that were also competing had to stay in the main hotel, whereas LHS and other high schools to stay a bit farther away.

Those who make it to finals will compete against others from all over the country at a national level in June. This year the national conference will be in Orlando, Florida.

Each year, students interested in all aspects of STEM education work on their projects from the beginning of the school year to the end of winter when – usually around late February – students will compete in the events that they have signed up for against kids from other schools that also participate in TSA from all around the state.

Students pride themselves in the fact that they get to get their feet wet with real-world STEM applications, from robotics to design to engineering; TSA is an outlet for young adults to experience creating small submarines and catapults to programming robots they built.

TSA has a plethora of events that students can sign up for. LHS chapter President Kiefer Wilkins was first of the three LHS students to sweep the event and to medal in the Fore! event, where a 2 by 2 fit one hole putt-putt golf course is constructed by one LHS student paired with an elementary schooler to design and work on. In this particular event, Wilkins and his kindergarten buddy Emily Williams got first.

“I do TSA because it teaches me a lot about assembling a team with the right skills for the task at hand,” said Wilkins.

Qualifying two of three events, Kiefer will be able to participate at state in Orlando, Florida in the System Controls event, in which a real world problem is given to  a group of students competing in the event on site and use their choice of platform (like mind storms Legos for Wilkins). This year, the problem for system controls was to create a conveyor belt and mate multiple prices of a rectangular product, moving the product down the conveyor and sort them into a bin and repeat.

While Kiefer and his kindergarten partner got first, their event (like other events at TSA) only exist at the state level.

“TSA also helps me to be a leader and know when I need to have someone else lead and build my communication skills,” said Wilkins.

16 LHS students qualified for Nationals that will take place at the end of June.

Top individuals by points were Luke Walters-Hooey, Sam Riebling, Kiefer Wilkins and Beth Rossman. Littleton also placed 4th overall.

Pieter Van Leeuwen, who won a gold metal in the the Silent Movie event, explains that TSA is something that has more than enough real-world application.

“I love TSA because for me it provides something to build and actually do with my friends that I normally wouldn’t know how to do or know what to do. There’s a lot of interesting things that are applicable to real life jobs that I am learning now before the real world, where it’s more stressful,” said Van Leeuwen.

The full list of the 16 qualified individuals are listed below:

2nd in Chapter team: Sam Reibling, Luke Walters-Hooey, Lex Graham, Kai Hueske Van Ceylon, Beth Rossman, Elskia Martinez, Anna Maestas and Hannah Sanders

FORE! Event: Kiefer Wilkins and buddy Emily Williams placed first, Luke Walters-Hooey and buddy Jakob Jensen placed second, and Steve Williams and buddy Tye Verbos placed third

Silent Movie team: Pieter Van Leewan, Anne Mashak & Beth Rossman placed first

System Control: Aiden Murray, Kiefer Wilkins & Sam Riebling placed first

Tech Problem Solving: Sam Riebling and Luke Walters-Hooey placed third

Essays on Tech: Sam Burke placed first and Kat Allee placed thrid

Rubberband Cars: Andrew Carpender placed first

Future Tech Teacher: Sam Riebling placed third

Individual Chapter Team: Kai Hueske Van Ceylon placed first and Beth Rossman placed third