At the 2018 National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference, several schools from across the country with TSA chapters made a valuable connection to the voice of the world’s IT industry. CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux, the conference keynote speaker, announced that two middle schools and three high schools each will receive a $10,000 check from CompTIA to use toward a “tech shopping spree.”
“Every little bit goes a long way to help schools, and what we hope is that schools will use this money to buy some of the amazing new technologies that are out in the world today,” Thibodeaux told a cheering audience. The randomly selected schools are:
- Big Spring High School, Newville, PA
- High Point Central High School, High Point, NC
- Kettle Run High School, Nokesville, VA
- Mckamy Middle School, Flower Mound, TX
- Oak Canyon Junior High School, Lindon, UT
“I didn’t actually believe it at first,” says Mr. Sam Barnouski, Big Spring High School technology and engineering education teacher who has served as a TSA chapter advisor since 2012. “I was unable to attend the conference. When the student who accepted the award for our chapter told me we had been picked, I thought he misunderstood at first because that’s a lot of money. We’re incredibly grateful to CompTIA for this generous donation. It’s going to be such a huge benefit to the students and our Technology and Engineering Department.” Big Springs is considering how to best use the funds.
“We were flabbergasted,” says Mr. Michael Holden, modeling and game art design teacher at High Point Central High School. “To receive this award is a huge boon and makes all the hard work this year tremendously worth it.” The modeling and game art design teacher says the CompTIA funds possibly could be spent on equipment and/or software for filming, recording, motion capture, virtual reality (VR), and/or drawing.
Mr. Bill Davidson and Ms. Karen Frye have been the TSA chapter co-advisors at Kettle Run High School since 2008. Mr. Davidson says the school was “completely shocked” to receive the prize, and TSA chapter members immediately started thinking of ways to use the award. They have not determined yet how to spend all of the money, but some purchases may include a range finder, Arduino boards with various sensors, and raspberry Pis.
“I was very pleasantly surprised to learn we had been chosen to receive such a large amount of money,” says Mr. Paul Blalack, the math/technology teacher who has served as the TSA chapter advisor at Mckamy Middle School since 2014. He says the school plans to buy a 3D printer to create parts for competition robots and other projects.
Mr. Terry Hunter says Oak Canyon Junior High School, where he serves as chair of the Career and Technical Education Department, is “overwhelmed” by news of the award. “I was in total shock and couldn’t even move, so one of my students went to the stage to pick up the envelope.” Mr. Hunter, who has served as the TSA chapter advisor since 2002, reports that Oak Canyon will use the money to purchase tools and supplies to promote TSA and STEM at the school, and in the Alpine School District.
In 2019, Mr. Thibodeaux says in addition to awards to schools, CompTIA will select five TSA student members; each will receive a $5,000 scholarship. “During the last year, I don’t think there has been an event or a press interview where I have not talked about TSA,” he revealed at the conference. “We see lots of groups that are just doing robotics, or they’re doing just coding, or they’re doing just some other thing in tech. You guys do everything, and on top of that, you add leadership, teamwork, communication, commitment to your communities—all great attributes.”
National TSA is appreciative of the awards from CompTIA. In 2017, TSA and CompTIA launched a partnership to expand STEM education, opportunities, competitions, and leadership development as part of CompTIA’s NextUp initiative to interest teens in tech careers—and collectively address the challenge of filling the STEM pipeline.
Photos by Tom Liszka, senior digital brand manager, Creating IT Futures, CompTIA.