Four Hampton students to compete in national technology contest
Published 11:37 am Thursday, April 9, 2015
Four students at Hampton High School recently received high rankings in a state technology competition, earning the right to move on to the national competition this summer.
“We recently had 11 students compete in the State Technology Student Association competitions in Murfreesboro,” teacher Daniel Arnett said.
As a team, Maggie Burchett and Jacob Hill placed second in Structural Engineering. In individual competition, John Cole placed second and Justin Simerly placed third in Computer Aided Design Architecture.
The high placings by the students have earned them to right to move on to the National TSA Competition, which will be held June 28-July 2 in Dallas.
“This is our third year in a row going to national,” Arnett said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
Students go into the competition armed only with the skills and knowledge from the classroom. At the competition they are given a set of parameters and must complete their project within a specified time frame.
For the state competition, Cole and Simerly were given dimension to create architectural plans for a three-bedroom home with a lot of specific details.
“It had to be handicap-accessible and have a basement, so I put an elevator in there so they could get to the basement,” Simerly said.
“Each door had to be a 36-inch door, and if you had a hallway, it had to be 48 inches wide,” Cole said.
The design instructions also included things such as a two-car garage, walk-in closet space and a set number of bathrooms.
“We had four hours to get it done, but we both got it done in about an hour-and-a-half,” Simerly said.
Cole and Simerly were the only two students from East Tennessee competing on the state level for CAD Architecture. Simerly competed at the regional level in November, but the state event was Cole’s first experience competing for CAD Architecture.
“He’s the one who taught me how to use the program,” Cole said of his classmate Simerly. “I only had about a month-and-a-half with on the program before the contest. I owe him a lot of thanks.”
The team of Burchett and Hill placed second in the regional TSA competition in November, which earned them a chance to qualify for the state competition in Murfreesboro last month.
“To qualify for state we had to take down a structure we had built in our off time,” Burchett said, adding they built a box girder beam bridge. “They tested it and that’s when we found out if we placed in the top six to compete in state.”
Then at the state competition, Burchett and Hill had to first hand draw their bridge design and then build it using limited construction materials under a tight time frame with a very small tolerance for mistakes.
“If it was off 1/32 of a inch we were disqualified,” Burchett said of the bridge design measurements. The goal for the contest was to have the best overall ratio between the pounds of pressure the bridge could withstand compared to the weight of the structure.
When it came time for judging, not only did the team of Burchett and Hill stand up to the rigourous standards, their bridge did as well.
“Our bridge held 96 pounds of pressure and only weighed 21.5 grams,” Burchett said. A weight of 21.5 grams is about three-quarters of one ounce.
The students said they are a little nervous about heading to the national competition, but they have confidence in the skills they have learned in class.
Burchett, Hill and Simerly are all seniors at Hampton High School and will graduate before attending the national competition. Cole is a junior and will be returning to the program next year.