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Mariner High students shine at leadership conference

By Staff | Nov 19, 2011

Eight Technology Student Association officers from Mariner High School brought home numerous awards from a leadership conference they attended earlier this month.

“These kids never cease to amaze me,” said Adam Nowicki, STEM instructor, TSA advisor, VEX, FTC and Robotics coach. “If America is worried about its youth, they need to look no further than at its local TSA Chapter. They have restored my faith in our future, and I know I speak for countless parents as well.”

He said the three-day conference, which was held Nov. 2-5, was full of seminars that provided the students with information on leadership topics that included planning fund-raisers and becoming more skilled at their positions.

The Mariner High School students who attended the TSA leadership conference included chapter president Nicole Ballman, chapter vice president Paul Teleweck, sergeant at arms Chris Eck, secretary Cory Fairfield, reporter Megan Tedlie, treasurer Gerilynn Rossman, historian Jasmine Singh and parliamentarian Andy Scarbrough.

The “Marinerds” took fourth place in the structural engineering event and first place medals in the team building costume contest.

Nowicki said students were asked to design a balsa wood structure, which typically is a bridge or tower, with certain requirements for the structural engineering event. The challenge consisted of the students building an efficient tower with a height of exactly 12 inches.

He said the Marinerds had to make sure the efficiency of the tower was represented by a function of the weight of the structure and the maximum load it could take.

“Although the Marinerds came in fourth place, they did not bring home a trophy, but they took away some valuable experience that may be used at an upcoming conference in the same event,” he said.

Nowicki said aside from your usual engineering and technology-related competitions, there were also several team building activities, which included the competitors’ favorite – the costume contest.

The contest required the teams to have costumes of a Disney-related theme. He said the Marinerds chose “Toy Story” as their theme. The team dressed up as “Woody,” “Jessie,” “Slink,” “Army Man,” “Barbie and Ken,” “Evil Dr. Pork Chop,” “Little Green Man” and “Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.”

There was also a problem solving event during the conference.

Nowicki said that two of his teams did so well in the problem solving event that they tied for first place. Those teams were Ballman and Scarbrough and Eck and Teleweck.

The students received mouse traps, paper, clothes pins, tongue depressors and tape.

Nowicki said the students had to design a race track with the materials given. The track had to include at least two right turns that launched two balls of different weights at the same time in opposite directions with both ending up in the same cup at the end of the track at the same time.

The students are now preparing for the First Tech Challenge Qualifier Robotics Conference, “The Great Robot Uprising,” hosted at Mariner High School on Jan. 14, along with the Florida State TSA conference in February.