By James Blakeman
Fort Hays State University's Technology Education Collegiate Association has won yet another battery of victories. Early November saw TECA depart for Denver, CO, to compete in the Rocky Mountain Regional Technology Education Conference and Competitions. They returned with two first-place and two second-place victories.
Technology studies students took first-place honors in the live manufacturing competition and placed first and second in the transportation competitions. They also won second place in the problem solving division and third-place in the technology challenge.
The live manufacturing team consisted of chair Matt Carroll, Hoisington senior; and teammates Justin Bearley, Kensington senior; Brad Canfield, Mulvane senior, Julie Schneider, Goddard junior, and Eric Bourbon, Jewell senior.
The transportation team that took first-place was comprised of chair Matt Brown, Hays senior; and teammates Peter Kern, Chase junior, and Matt Dunning, Stockton junior. The team that took second-place consisted of chair Chris Look, Stockton junior, Ken Rigler, Callaway sophomore, and Seph Bellerive, Stockton junior.
The problem solving team that took second-place was comprised of chair Seph Bellerive, and teammates Chris Look, Jason Garces, Iuka sophomore, and Chance McKinney, Stockton freshman.
Rachel Sprock, Hays junior, chaired a problem solving team and a technology challenge team.
The technology challenge team that took third-place was composed of chair Justin Bearley and teammates Brad Canfield, Matt Carroll and Peter Kern.
"It really is a great situation," said Kim Stewart, assistant professor of technology studies and co-sponsor for the group. "Our kids get to be in a competitive situation where they're testing their skills and knowledge of technology and get to compete against other schools, both regionally and nationally."
These, though, are only their recent accomplishments. TECA has successfully won first-place honors in the regional live manufacturing competition 13 times out of the last 15 years.
Only 1994 and 1998 eluded FHSU's otherwise solid grasp on manufacturing since its first victory in 1986. Eight of the past 15 years TECA has also taken first-place nationally in this competition.
Other areas, though, are equally impressive. Since its creation in 1986, FHSU's TECA group has brought home many victories.
Regionally the group has produced three first- and two second-place wins in problem solving, four first- and one second-place win in live communication, three first- and one second-place win in technology challenge, three first-place wins in technical presentation and four first- and three second-place wins in transportation.
Nationally, the group has brought home a first-place win in problem solving, two second-place wins in live communication, a second-place win in technology challenge, five outstanding chapter awards and many other lesser victories.
"We act as a civic organization too," said Stewart. "We have an adopt-a-highway mile and we do things for Toys For Tots."
Over two-hundred wooden tugboats were manufactured this year for needy children by the department, under the guidance of TECA. An assembly line is set up in the work shop where TECA members, FHSU staff, students and community volunteers are assigned positions.
"Our wood lab is jam packed on our Toys For Tots day. We start out Saturday morning and by about 1 or 2 o'clock that day we have 200 toys."
With community services, local competitions and national competitions, TECA more than adequately stimulates its members with a broad range of activities.
"It really is a great situation! We've established ourselves throughout the nation as being an excellent department," said Stewart.
TECA encompasses many areas of technology, but focuses primarily on communication, manufacturing and construction. Members interested in becoming educators receive addition training in power, energy and transportation.
"It's a group of young people who are promoting technology and the use of technology," said Stewart.
"We're trying to utilize that technology to make our lives better."