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DHS students win national TSA awards

National Technology Student Association (TSA) conference winners include Dickinson High School chapter members Elizabeth Yoder, Christopher Dean and Kara Hibl. (Linda Sailer/The Dickinson Press)

Three graduating seniors from Dickinson High School returned home with national awards when they participated in the National Technology Student Association conference held June 21-25 at Orlando, Fla.

Elizabeth Yoder placed third in the nation with a prepared presentation.Teammates Kara Hibl and Christopher Dean placed eighth in structural design and engineering (building a bridge).

“One of the things about the competition is they are challenging activities that really foster personal growth and help them develop leadership,” DHS chapter advisor Susan Haider said.

The students must have placed first in the state TSA competition in order to participate at nationals. Also attending nationals were DHS chapter members Nicole Sadowsky, Sydney Dolyniuk, Autumn Paluck, Jersey Theurer, Austin Haider,Carter Blotske, Jeremy Parker and Presley Weiler. Alyssa Haider represented the Hagen Junior High School chapter.

Yoder has attended nationals four of the five years she qualified.

“It’s exciting to meet new people and try different events while we’re there because we don’t have all the events at the state level,” she said.

While at Orlando, she also competed in Future Technology Teachers, extemporaneous speech and Essays on Technology. For the prepared presentation, she had 24 hours to prepare for the speech.

The topic was speaking about careers that deal with public speaking -- such as pastors, teachers and news anchors.

“It focused on the importance of public speaking -- the politician was fun to present,” she said.

Yoder became interested in public speaking as a member of Student Council. She joined speech team and Student Congress and her interest grew from there.

“I was really excited to place third,” she said. “I was hoping to finish in the top three this year.”

Yoder plans to enroll at Augustana University at Sioux Falls, where she will double major in religion and political science/international affairs.

Hibl and Dean built a bridge model at Dickinson and transported it to the national competition.

“We placed it in a cartridge box with tons of bubble and it made it there in one piece,” Hibl said.

The team advanced as the top 20 in the competition with the bridge, and then were assigned to build a second bridge.

“We had three hours to design, draw and built a bridge from balsa wood,” Hibl said.The judges tabulated  the scores from the bridges, sketches and interviews before awarding the prizes.

This was the second year that Hibl and Dean have competed at nationals. He also  took the opportunity to compete in vex robotics and tech bowl.

The team was delighted  to place eighth in the nation.

“Some high schools are private tech schools -- technology is part of their curriculum, ours is extracurricular,” Hibl said.

“It definitely makes a difference,” Dean added.

Dean will enroll at the University of Mary this fall to pursue a career in either chemical engineering or physician's assistant program.

Kara is enrolling at North Dakota State School of Science to begin her career in culinary arts and hotel management.

The Technology Student Association defines its mission as enhancing personal development, leadership and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They apply these concepts through more than 60  competitions. More than 250,000 middle and high school students are members of the association.

The trip to Orlando was made possible because of scholarship support provided by local businesses.

“We are happy that they are willing to invest in our youth and allow them an opportunity to develop as leaders and compete in stem competitive events,” Haider added. “It is great that our students from Dickinson, N.D. are being recognized on stage nationally.”