HILLSBORO – Thursday afternoon, Hillsboro High students took part in a first-ever virtual TSA competition. From on-demand video to CAD competition, this year’s TSA event looked much different than years past.
TSA educator Creigh Bell said this year’s competition was not the typical 300-student convention of years past.
“This is more different than ever; this is a virtual event and virtual conference,” he said.
In a virtual conference, Bell said some events were scrapped due to the logistics of maintaining social distancing.
“I would be glad to have the dragster event back, VEX robotics, flight endurance, and being present with the kids,” he said.
Bell added, the energy generated by hundreds of enthusiastic teens is impossible to replicate online.
“The CAD competitors would have taken laptops and monitors into a room at the conference center and set up. I really miss seeing the loads of kids running around with their On Demand Video equipment and having sessions with 300 kids in the same room, the people time,” he said.
While some events have been cancelled, Bell and his colleagues have dedicated more time to ensuring the events that could take place did so smoothly.
“I did a debate – debating technological issues – using Zoom and breakout rooms, doing timing and signaling across, possibly, the US. It’s not something I normally do,” he said.
Bell added there were many technical challenges to overcome, working through GoogleDocs and coordinating screen time.
During Thursday’s competition, CAD students were working at computers in small cubicles and the Video On Demand students took over a smaller workspace, editing their video.
On Demand Video students said this year, they had just 36 hours to create a one minute video with a mystery theme.
“We had to include a water bottle, a hair scrunchy, a spoon and the line ‘Has anyone seen the dog?’ and it all has to be under a minute,” said On-Demand team member Paul Glanzer.
Bell said seeing students working around problems was a highlight of the day.
“I want people to appreciate their dedication to sticking with their event and going through what it takes to compete. This is done all outside classwork,” he said.
While final results will not be fully available until Wednesday afternoon, Bell said Hillsboro TSA students are already making the district proud, with the Fashion Design Team – Callie Berhardt, Kayla Isaac and Olivia Slater – qualifying for semi-finals “and they could be going to nationals,” he said.
This year, despite the challenges, Bell said he was proud of the TSA students and their perseverance through a challenging semester.