HOWELL — Shortly before the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year, students from Howell Middle School North and Howell Middle School South attended the Technology Student Association (TSA) national convention in Dallas, Texas.
The TSA is a national organization of more than 250,000 middle school and high school students who are engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies.
The students are also required to have enrolled in at least one technology education course and to have a self-identified interest in the role of leadership with their peers and community, according to the TSA advisers of the Howell middle schools, Pamela Gawron and Josh Langenberger.
The students at each school elect an executive board of their peers who conduct formal meetings.
At the national convention, Howell Middle School South student Siddarth Shankar was initiated into the TSA National Honor Society.
For a student to be inducted into the honor society, he or she must maintain a grade point average of 3.0, serve as a member of a chapter’s executive board, attend and place at a state or national conference, participate in at least one committee, assist in the completion of a school and community service project, and speak to others regarding the benefits of a membership in TSA, according to the advisers.
“This year’s TSA nationals in Dallas was the first in-person event since 2019. I enjoyed meeting students from all over the country. The hands-on challenges, the presentations and the leadership sessions were all very educational. Receiving the honor society award for my three middle school years with the TSA was a privilege and a great experience,” Siddarth said.
The students are required to attend weekly meetings and to participate in at least one committee, among other requirements. The students may also attend state and national conferences and competitions.
The annual state competition is hosted by the New Jersey TSA at The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township, in March.
The TSA national conference and competition has been held in Orlando, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas, and in 2023 it is expected to be held in Louisville, Ky., according to the advisers.
Students from Howell Middle School North and Howell Middle School South were able to place in their categories:
• Emma Conrad, seventh grade, Howell Middle School North, placed 10th in Teams Video Presentation;
• Chinomnso Echezona, eighth grade, Howell Middle School North, placed third for TEAMS – State Competition, fourth in Career Prep and fourth for Leadership Strategies;
• Alyssa Florio, eighth grade, Howell Middle School North, placed fourth for leadership strategies and 10th in the TEAMS video presentation;
• Urvi Patel, eighth grade, Howell Middle School North, placed fourth for Leadership Strategies, sixth for Medical Technology and 10th for TEAMS video presentation;
• In addition to being inducted into the TSA National Honor Society, Siddharth Shankar, eighth grade, Howell Middle School North, placed third for the TEAMS – State Competition and sixth for Medical Technology;
• Kennedy Brennan, eighth grade, Howell Middle School South, placed fifth for TEAMS presentation, eighth for TEAMS Multi Choice and ninth for Technical Design;
• Mallory Brennan, sixth grade, Howell Middle School South, placed fifth for TEAMS presentation, eighth for TEAMS Multi Choice and ninth for Technical Design;
• Kaelin Burke, Jacob Morrell and Jared Spiegel, all sixth grade, Howell Middle School South, competed at the national level at the TSA nationals in 2022;
• Emily Krahling, sixth grade, Howell Middle School South, placed fifth for TEAMS presentation and TEAMS Multi Choice;
• Paula Reynaga, sixth grade, Howell Middle School South, placed fifth for TEAMS Presentation and eighth for TEAMS Multi Choice;
• Anastasiia Zhemchuzhnikova, sixth grade, Howell Middle School South, placed eighth for Commuter Assisted Design Foundations.
In order to attend the national convention, a student must place at a competitive event at the state level.
During the national convention, the students have leadership opportunities and training sessions, hear from keynote speakers and take part in competitive events.
The students in the Howell middle schools TSA organizations practice all year. In October, the students select a competitive event they will master throughout the year in preparation for the conventions and the competitions.
“If a member is selected to compete on a national level, they have the opportunity to improve their submission over several months in preparation for a national competition,” Gawron said.
Each level of submission is highly competitive and an invitation to attend the national conference is an honor the Howell middle schools receive annually, according to the advisers.
“The students are committed to improving their leadership skills and often serve as peer models. Membership in TSA results in a 100% high school graduation rate with at least 75% of TSA members attending post-secondary or trade schools.
“Many of Howell’s TSA alumni have pursued STEM-based career choices and attend specialized learning centers in the fields of engineering, biotechnology, medical, computer science, law and government,” Langenberger said.