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TSA Students Get ready for Nationals

Posted Date: 04/25/2017

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Technology students prepping for national competitions

The four CHS students who qualified to compete at the Technology Student Association nationals aren’t thinking about the trip to Orlando, Florida - except when it comes to raising the money to go. Instead their minds are on ways to revise and polish their projects from state because they believe they can do better at nationals.

Mercedes Ansell, Trenton Lowry, Kaleigh Ludlum, and Huntyr Schwegman competed in 12 areas at the state TSA event in Salina. Their final standings in photography and fashion design qualified them for the national competition in June, provided they can raise more than $5,000 to get there.

“We’ve already raised over $2,000 so we’ve gotten off to a great start,” said Kristal Julich, interim advisor for the high school’s TSA. They’ve sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts, held a pancake feed at the high school and worked concessions at a track meet.

On Tuesday, the local Pizza Hut will donate a percentage of the sales on that day if the public uses the coupon (which can be found on the Chanute High School’s web site) or they can order pizza online and designate voucher code 1020.      

Another way to assist is by donating frequent flyer miles to TSA to help pay for airfare to Florida, Julich said.

Meanwhile, the foursome is focused on improving their work, and not only in photography and fashion design.

Ansell’s state finish in photography and the trio’s in fashion design gets them into the national competition, Julich said. Once they’ve qualified, though, the students can enter all the other areas of competition as well. They can also revise or improve on their state entries.

Ansell is redoing her photobook, Lowry is working on his public speaking and debate points on technological issues, Schwegman is practicing with the video production equipment so he can work faster for On Demand Video and Ludlum is revising her children’s storybook.

With humor as the theme, Ansell had taken photos of eggs with faces for her state photobook, but she thinks she can do better.

For the competition she’s required to have black and white and color photos, include all the editing on the photo as well as the camera settings, write about how she interpreted the theme plus provide a resume of her photography experience.

“I’m redoing all my pictures and I’m going to try some perspective photos. I can see it in my mind, I just have to make it happen,” she said. “I’ll do a lot better at nationals.”


The fashion team of Ludlum, Schwegman and Lowry also has ideas on how to improve the clothing they designed.

The theme was recycled materials and the students had to create two outfits, Julich said.

“I thought it was so much fun (and) very rewarding, seeing something you’d drawn on paper come to life,” Ludlum said.

They started with a bedsheet for the fabric, broke CDs into small pieces and “bedazzled” a pair of shorts using glue they’d made from natural materials. The pair of pants featured pockets made from The Comet newspaper.

“I was impressed that they were able to create something that was wearable using the materials they used. Just the quality of our entry was really impressive,” Julich said.

Ludlum said they plan to make some adjustments so the clothing, that she and Schwegman modeled, fits better.

“I want to make it a usable pocket,” she said, though Schwegman liked that the story on his back pocket was one he wrote for the school newspaper.

All four of the students were involved in the On-Demand Video competition, with Schwegman behind the camera.

 “The reason I joined TSA was to compete in On Demand. It’s what I love to do. I’ve been making YouTube videos for four years,” the CHS junior said.

He found doing it at state was a lot more demanding.

Schwegman said he was given the line, “Hey has anyone seen my watch?” plus a coffee cup, a shoe lace and a hairbrush, and had to complete a video for the judges within 24 hours.

“I thought we did pretty well,” he said. “I’m still pretty proud of what we put together,” but it was a learning experience.

“It also taught me how to time manage, like you don’t have nine weeks to prepare,” Schwegman said. At nationals they’ll have two days to make their video after being given their prompt and props.

“The only thing we can do to prepare is learn how to use the equipment better,” he said.

For Lowry, a sophomore, it’s been an exciting few months.

“I didn’t even know TSA existed until this year” but said, “Heck yeah!” when someone asked if he wanted to join an organization for students who like technology and competition. He even applied to be a state officer after his experience at state this year.

“I very much want to go to nationals because this is my first year in TSA and I think it’d be awesome to go to nationals and experience it all,” he said.

“The thing about TSA is it prepares us for the future. As our society revolves more around technology the more we know about technology the more we’ll know when we’re older and are contributing members of society,” Ansell said.

“I’m hoping we do very well. We’re all pretty determined,” Ludlum added. “We know what we did right or wrong at state and can improve on that, do something positive and come out on top,” Ludlum said.

Julich described the experience at state as incredible.

“My purpose was to give them the opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t have to be the expert. The kids have the creativity or the skills and they’ll figure it out. I was the conduit.”


Story By: Connie Woodard


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