The TSA searches – no, not through air plane luggage. Riverside’s TSA, led by senior Faith Anderson, searches for students throughout the school that are passionate about technology.
Anderson founded the Technology Student Association, better known as TSA, in late 2020, the beginning of her junior year. TSA members break off into groups centered around different subjects like video game design, board game design, and VEX (robotics). Those groups then prepare and compete in competitions.
As the current President, Anderson plans the club’s activities and supervises each group along with completing her own work. Like many others, she struggled to lead the club during remote learning.
“It was really difficult starting the club during zoom school. I found it hard to get blank screens to engage,” said Anderson, “Finding competitions to do for the club was also hard because the state, regional, and national competitions were canceled during 2020 and 2021.”
But for Anderson, not even a pandemic could get in the way of her goal. TSA, unlike some of the other science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) opportunities at RHS, is open to the entire school.
“I created TSA because I really wanted to expand the reach of STEM knowledge outside of just the engineering department at Riverside,” she explained, “This way I hoped we could increase the representation of minorities in the STEM field. Even if someone didn’t know about Riverside’s engineering program during middle school, they still have a chance in high school to experience some of it.”
Students enrolled in Riverside’s engineering program begin their freshman year and must take four or more courses to maintain their membership. This, on top of the program’s limited number of spots, means that not everyone interested can participate.
The club’s perseverance has paid off. At TSA’s most recent competition in Cary, its video game design team won first place, beating out both the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and Panther Creek High School.
“I thought this would be a great way to better educate people on the good parts of STEM, not just doing it to get a grade.”