News Section: Local news
Students to Take Palma Sola Park Project to State Competition
BRADENTON – The Technology Student Association has been a growing figure in the Florida education landscape, as schools continue to focus in on science and technology to better prepare students for 21st century careers. For two students at W.D. Sugg Middle School, TSA's upcoming state competition will mark the culmination of months of work on a worthwhile project that they hope can bring home the gold.
Since its founding in 1978, over 2 million middle and high school students have benefited from (TSA) and the opportunity the non-profit organization has given them to hone real world science and engineering skills in a fun and challenging environment. March 13-16, Florida students will gather in Orlando for the annual state competition, where they'll have a chance to compete for a chance to move on to nationals, scheduled to be held in June.
In the middle school competition, students from TSA clubs in 6-8th grade submit a display documenting the use of their leadership and technical skills in fulfilling a need in their community, through a solution that is related to construction. Those chosen as semifinalists, give a presentation and then take part in an interview.
Caleb Cotton and Bailey Spillane decided to create bat racks, helmet holders, and softball returns for the softball fields at Palma Sola Park, where Spillane plays for a local team. The innovative techniques employed by the two eager Bradenton 8th graders demonstrate a keen sense for creative thinking and problem solving, part of the very fabric of the TSA mission.
Both students want to become engineers and see TSA as a stepping stone toward their career ambitions. Cotton, who is also a three-sport athlete, says that his engineering aspirations trace all the way back to elementary school and that TSA seemed like a logical step in his journey.
“I chose this project because I love baseball, and I wanted to help the children who play softball at Palma Sola," said Cotton. "I also love construction."
Spillane calls softball "her life," and says that the project was also a way to give something back to the facility where her and her teammates practice and play. Bailey says she knows she wants to study engineering, but is torn between marine, environmental and construction disciplines.
Both see the TSA program as an invaluable asset to their future aspirations.
"TSA is training students for the careers of the future," said Spillane. She's right – and that future looks a little brighter thanks to motivated young students such as her and Cotton. TBT salutes their contribution to our community and wish them the best of luck later this month.
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