Braden River senior and his TSA team attempt to defend national title.
| 5:21 p.m. March 15, 2017
Ever since Braden River High senior Griffin Trautweiler became president of his high school’s Technology Student Association team as a freshman, he has had a vision.
It is just that his vision keeps changing.
When “Griff” was first elected president of TSA, the team had won nationals twice before — in 2012 and 2013 — and he had some big expectations to meet.
“Toward the beginning of my presidency (when he was a freshman), I was focused on getting back to how good we were,” Trautweiler said. “From there on out, it was all about how much further we could take it.”
The Pirates took first place in the TSA State Championships all four years, and even won a national championship in 2016.
So his vision went from returning to grandeur, to winning a state championship, to earning a national title, and now, defending that title.
TSA is an organization that attempts to enhance personal development, leadership and career opportunities by concentrating on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It challenges the students through having them compete by developing projects that relate to STEM.
Trautweiler will be leading 40 of his best TSA teammates to nationals one last time before graduating in the spring, and he has tremendous faith that his team will bring him another first-place trophy at nationals.
“We did last year, and we have a better team this year,” Trautweiler said.
In 2016, the team broke a state record with 17 first-place trophies out of 36 possible. This year, the team was awarded 20 first-place trophies.
Gil Burlew, Braden River High’s TSA adviser, doesn’t know if any team will approach 20 wins again.
“It was really unbelievable what we did,” he said.
Trautweiler has been able to mold a team of leaders, making him more of a facilitator.
“If you don’t know the answer to a question, you know exactly which person to direct them to,” Trautweiler said.
Besides being president, Trautweiler has been able to find his own niche on the team.
When he first became involved in TSA as a sixth-grader at R. Dan Nolan Middle School, he didn’t win a first-place trophy, but it was “fun,” so he continued.
His passion and talent for computer-aided design (CAD) was his ticket to earning his role at Braden River.
Trautweiler has since found a new passion — video and lighting. He discovered this passion after he started volunteering at Bayside Community Church when he was in seventh grade.
He was hired a year ago as the church’s East Bradenton Campus Next Generation visual production coordinator.
“I started learning a lot about video, and it was awesome, so I ended up just trying it out,” Trautweiler said. “It was random, but I wanted to do it. It was my new thing.”
Trautweiler said video production and lighting are his specialties. When it comes to different TSA events, he does video production, leading this year’s video production team in the state championships and taking home a first-place trophy.
Three of his other crews took first place in “Webmaster” and “On Demand Video” at this year’s state competition. Each team typically has about six people participating in each of the 36 events.
Trautweiler said he can’t do it alone. Daniel Rodrigues is his vice president and his “right hand man.”
“Daniel is the man,” Trautweiler said. “He is always supportive of the direction, and he’s a fantastic team leader.”