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12 Middlesex technology students earn state honors

The St. Clare Walker Middle School Technology Students Association (TSA) members who placed at the state competition on May 3-5 include, from left, Jeffery Jones, Tyler Radabaugh, Kevin Horton, Cole Radabaugh, Brooke Daniel, Kenneth Beam, technology teacher Matthew Short, Chloe Hodges, Jack Graulich, Andrew Hudson, Jack Ruark and Jerry Lindsey. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Middlesex County Public School students in the Technology Student Association (TSA) competed and placed well at the Virginia TSA Technosphere 2013 State Leadership Conference at the Richmond Convention Center on May 3-5.

Teams comprised of 11 students from St. Clare Walker Middle School (SCW) brought home six trophies, including three for first place. Also, Middlesex High School sophomore Jonathan Williams placed second in Extemporaneous Presentation Level II.

“This group of students worked extremely hard,” said SCW technology teacher and TSA faculty advisor Matt Short. “They dedicated countless hours in the mornings, after school, Saturdays and Sundays since the beginning of the school year preparing for these events.”

SCW students competed against 51 middle schools from throughout Virginia.

Middlesex High sophomore Jonathan Williams (above) placed 2nd in Extemporaneous Presentation Level II.

The students have learned the value of persistence, and “have been rewarded by placing where they did at the state competition,” said Short. “It’s important for these students to learn at an early age that they really have to dedicate the time and effort in order to achieve their desired goals.”

Since the state event, the students are now back to work, perfecting their projects to compete on the higher skilled level seen at the TSA national event, said Short. Under Middlesex School Board policy, students who place in the top three spots in state competition are eligible to compete at the nationals to be held in Orlando, Florida, in June.

“We are so proud of the Technology Student Association team and their recent success at the state competition,” said Dr. Thomas Taylor, superintendent of Middlesex County Public Schools. “They have worked hard on their projects and the results speak for themselves. I am grateful for the hard work that these students have put in and for the support of their parents during the last few months of preparation.

Dr. Taylor added that special recognition also goes to Short. “Mr. Short has done an amazing job with these young ladies and gentlemen. We are all looking forward to hearing more about future accomplishments at the national competition later this year.”

TSA gives members opportunities for leadership and personal growth in 60 areas of technology, innovation, design, and engineering.

These competitions stress the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts, leadership, and presentation skills.

Middlesex Public Schools earned 6th place for the Lynn P. Barrier Outstanding School Division-Middle School Level, which recognizes the highest achieving school systems in the competition.

SCW also received 8th place for the Arvid W. Van Dyke Outstanding School Award-Middle School Level, which recognizes the highest achieving individual schools in the competition. 

The SCW TSA performance at the state competition has guaranteed advancement to the National TSA Conference, scheduled for June 28-July 2 in Orlando. During this annual conference and premier educational event, over 60 middle school and high school technology based student competitions will be held. Also, students will be able to participate in leadership training sessions, career and education fairs, STEM educational products and services demonstrations, and a national service project.

Students will return to the community with experience competing against the best in the nation and having gained expertise and knowledge from peers from across the country. More information is available on the national TSA website at

The St. Clare Walker Middle School Technology Students Association (TSA) won first place in the State TSA competition for construction challenge. Above, clockwise from bottom, left, they include Tyler Radabaugh, Kenneth Beam, Kevin Horton, Jeffrey Jones, Brooke Daniel, Cole Radabaugh, Andrew Hudson, Chloe Hodges, Jerry Lindsey, Jack Graulich, and Jack Ruark.Jerry Lindsey (left) and Kenneth Beam took third place in the State TSA completion for structural engineering. They build a model bridge that was tested to see how much weight it could support.
Tyler Radabaugh (left) won third and Jack Ruark won first in the State TSA competition for flight. Participants studied the principles of flight and design in order to fabricate, using materials provided, and test-fly gliders. Gliders launched from a catapult that is provided on site. Flight duration of the gliders and documentation of the design process were the primary elements of the evaluation.Tyler Radabaugh won second in the State TSA competition for transportation. Participants worked individually to apply and document the engineering design process and mathematical principles and scientific concepts used in the research, design, construction, testing and evaluation of a rubber band-powered boat. Performance ratings of the boats were based on a combination of speed and payload capability measurements.

For more information regarding SCW TSA or to assist the team financially in raising funds for the trip to the National Conference, please contact Matthew Short, advisor, directly at (804) 758-2561 or email to .

The SCW TSA thanked the following for assistance with specific student competitions: The Deltaville Maritime Museum executive board and vice president Bill Powell, and Holly Point Nature Park director Marvin Tiller; SCW Student Resource Officer and Middlesex Deputy Ben Langford; and officer Dwayne Dunlevy of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. Additionally, the SCW TSA thanked C&F Bank, Kristee Norwood of Portraits by Kristee, Gloucester Pharmacy and Lowe Tide for contributions to help students attend the state competition event.

The TSA team from SCW won first in the State TSA competition for Inventions and Innovations.  The team created a product called “The Lean Alert,” which is worn by hunters in tree stands and “buzzes” if the user leans over due to drowsiness.  From left they include, Brooke Daniel, Jack Ruark, Chloe Hodges, Cole Radabaugh, and Kenneth Beam. Team members create a prototype or model, developed a standalone multimedia presentation and documented work completed as they prepare to promote and demonstrate their idea for the invention or innovation. Semifinalists made an oral presentation to a panel of judges who posed as a group of venture capitalists interested in providing funding for the development of the idea.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 05.15.2013

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