EAST COUNTY — Not every Manatee County student spent his spring break lounging around the pool or taking a vacation.
In fact, dozens spent their week honing their technology skills and battling for top honors at the Florida Technology Student Association State Conference in Orlando.
Their efforts paid off. Two East County TSA teams secured state titles March 16.
Nolan Middle School took home the championship title for the fourth year in a row in the middle school division; the school took home 40 top-10 finishes, including 14 first-place awards. Braden River High School’s 24-member team earned 35 trophies, including18 first-place finishes, for a championship title in the high school division.
Additionally, Southeast High School and Lakewood Ranch High Schools placed second and fourth overall, respectively; Johnson and Haile middle schools took third and fourth overall, as well.
Seven other Manatee County schools earned top-10 finishes, including Braden River Middle School in the East County. Manatee County TSA students earned more top-10 finishes than any other school district in the state, said Doug Wagner, Manatee Schools’ director of Adult, Career and Technical Education.
“These student accomplishments have helped put Manatee County and our district on the map for quality engineering and technology education,” Wagner said.
Gil Burlew, lead TSA adviser for Braden River High’s team, said he couldn’t have been more pleased with his students’ performances.
“All the Braden River High School students continue to wow me with their hard work and perseverance,” he said. “When they set goals, they exceed their goals to the highest standard. It never ceases to amaze me that when kids are driven with positive enthusiasm, it begins to boil over into success.
Justin Devine, Nolan’s TSA adviser, agreed about his students’ performance.
“I’m proud of their commitment to being the best they can be,” he said. “It shows through the hours they put in. It’s really cool to see kids working hard to achieve goals. They did a great job.”
The state competition ran from Wednesday, March 13, through Saturday, March 16. Braden River and Nolan now will compete in the TSA’s national competition June 28.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].