RCMS TSA chapter wins 18 awards at statewide competition


Technosphere 2023 Photo Gallery

TSA members from across the state watch a student’s speech at the opening ceremony on the first day of events.

The RCMS Technology Student Association chapter competed at a statewide competition in Hampton, Virginia from May 4 to May 7, winning several events independently and second place among all middle schools.

“The TSA competition is a fierce battleground where students from various schools and regions unite to showcase their skills,” said Hansika Yakkala, a seventh-grader who competed in Career Prep, Children’s Stories, Forensic Technology, and Medical Technology.

Technology Student Association (TSA) is an organization that allows middle and high school students to compete in STEM competitions at the regional, state, and national levels. These competitive events test a variety of skills including structural engineering, information technology, photography, and more. While some require qualification from the regional level to participate at Technosphere, others were new at the state level.

“This year’s Technosphere was much larger than last year in terms of attendance,” Ms. Sona Sharma, the current Carson chapter advisor, said, “and I feel that our chapter did incredibly well.”

The chapter placed second across all Virginia middle schools, a notable achievement because in past years, it had always placed third after Holman Middle School and Short Pump Middle School. This year, however, it placed ahead of Short Pump.

“It was overall really competitive,” said Ballal Rama, a seventh-grader who competed in Structural Engineering.

Some students felt the competitive atmosphere was worsened by the technical difficulties the event organizers were experiencing. For example, Wi-Fi could be limited, and the semifinals results of several events were posted late.

“It took an hour for the [forensics] exam to be posted online and for the Wi-Fi password to be shared with everyone,” Hansika explained.

When students weren’t at their designated competition rooms, they had free time to leave the convention center and go to nearby beaches, museums, and restaurants or just relax in their hotels. But with the uncertain timing of certain semifinals results, many were forced to stay at the convention center hours longer than they had planned.

“We were waiting a lot,” Ballal said.

Meanwhile, chapter advisors, parents, and other volunteers were judging the competitions with usually two judges per event. They used official rubrics to score each project according to strict national guidelines.

“It’s very exciting to judge because I get to see the talent of so many students,” Ms. Sharma, who judged the high school Biotechnology event, said.

Finally, here’s a list of awards in the top three places that the RCMS chapter received at Technosphere. In addition, many other teams and individuals from Carson were finalists and semifinalists in their events.

  • Career Prep—Yana Baranwal, 1st place
  • Career Prep—Anvitaa Rudharraju, 2nd place
  • Challenging Technology Issues—Team 1, 1st place
  • Chapter Team—Team 1, 1st place
  • Children’s Stories—Team 1, 1st place
  • Community Service Video—Team 1, 2nd place
  • Cybersecurity—Soph Lamy, 2nd place
  • Digital Photography—Prisha Neelapala, 2nd place
  • Essays on Technology—Rishitha Mantri, 1st place
  •  Geospatial Technology—Team 1, 2nd place
  •  Inventions and Innovations—Team 1, 1st place
  •  Mass Production—Team 1, 1st place
  •  Promotional Marketing—Anvitaa Rudharraju, 1st place
  •  Promotional Marketing—Soph Lamy, 2nd place
  •  Promotional Marketing—Ishika Thalluri, 3rd place
  •  STEM Animation—Team 1, 1st place
  •  Website Design—Team 1, 2nd place

The national competition will take place in Louisville, Kentucky from June 28 to July 2. Many members of the RCMS chapter will continue to that level this summer along with hundreds more middle schools from all over the country.

“After the Technosphere journey,” Ms. Sharma said, “the experience really broadens their perspective.”