Fourteen of Clearview’s students qualified last month to compete in the 2021 National TSA (Technology Student Association) competition, after placing at the top in the New Jersey statewide competition in April.
Led by Technology teacher Melissa Parr, the students also got to compete virtually against competitors from other nations, including Germany and Turkey. Clearview had more than 40 members participate in the club this year.
“I started the club in 2006 because my students wanted a club for architecture and engineering,” said Parr, who serves as the TSA advisor. Five thousand TSA students from across the country qualified and participated in the virtual competition.
“This year was a little bit different because of COVID,” said Parr.
Not only did students have to compete virtually because of the pandemic, but they also had to create and send videos of themselves demonstrating their designs and inventions. Once they submitted the videos to the national level, the students would find out if they were top 12 in the nation.
‘They had to do a virtual interview with judges and they had to explain their projects as a team,” explained Parr.
Soon after the interviewing process, final judging is scored. Typically everyone works in the classroom and breaks up into teams while building models together. Since things still weren’t back to normal after last year, some students worked from home.
To collaborate while constructing items, the students used virtual software that included Google Meet. Engineering students had to adjust to new virtual software known as Onshape.
“We really had to attack TSA and our competitions differently this year,” Parr noted.
Two teams placed in the top five in the nation, including the Clearview Music Production team of Aspen Tabar, Karissa Szymanski, Megan Murtaugh and Dorianna Castleforte. Murtaugh also placed in the top five individually for 2D Architecture. Other teams placed 8th, 10th, and 12th respectively.
“This club really encompasses all of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” said Parr.
TSA members around the world can compete in 40 different competitions, such as video and board game design, architectural design, software development and music production.
Out of the 5,000 students who competed virtually this year, 11 of Clearview’s students were acknowledged for being at the top nationally. Parr admitted the past school year was difficult, because she and her students couldn’t do more hands-on work.
“The students worked hard inside and outside of the classroom and made up for some lost time,” Parr said. “It’s really hard to learn virtually, and they just truly succeeded in the new environment.”