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North High quartet win technology competition

March 25, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

North Fort Myers High School students took an academic first and second at a recent state competition.

Four North students won first place at the Florida's Technology Student Association state competition held Feb. 26-29 in Orlando, with another team placing second.

Claudia Castellon and Devon Bolton won first place in Technical Problem Solving, while Justin Lim and Jonathon Wood won first place in Structural Design and Engineering.

Article Photos

North High students (from left) Claudia Castellon and Devon Bolton won first place in Technical Problem Solving.


The top three in each event go to Nationals in Nashville in June, if the event remains scheduled.

"Winning is fun. We weren't surprised we won because we went up to test because our arch was the tallest in the contest," said Bolton, whose team had to build an arch over a box built using tools and materials provided.

"It was very exciting since it's my first year in TSA. It felt really good to win since me and Devon worked so hard," Castellon said.

Jennifer Curls, teacher and team sponsor with the team, said she was not expecting to finish as well as they did.

"We were incredibly surprised our school name was even called since our goal this year was to get at least one student place in the top 10. Plus, we really know what to expect or what talent we were up against.," Curls said in a e-mail.

In TSA, students are self-motivated to learn how to bring their designs in robotics, flight endurance, fashion design, video game design, dragster, architecture, structural design and many more to life.

Students compete and test their abilities to innovative prompts of engineering problem-solving. They work alongside teachers, classmates, and special guest volunteers to engage in project-based learning.

TSA provides students an opportunity that gives them experiences that better prepare them for their postsecondary education or career after high school.

Curls said most schools have had TSA programs for years and even start them at the middle school level.

"This is our first year forming the club as it's an extracurricular activity outside of school. The students put in a ton of work outside of school, and on their own time," Curls said. "I am so impressed on the dedication and passion these students have and the amount of time they put in."

Lim, Wood and Michael Taylor finished second in the Drone Pilot competition. Athena Pinheiro finished second in Photographic Technology and earned a $75 award from the U.S. Navy.

"It was fun and very beneficial to see where I am on the skill level in photography," Pinheiro said. "It also allowed me to be more creative and have a prompt that I would not have."

Other North finishers include Johann Sorenson, who finished fourth in music production, while Keityn Griffin was ninth in transportation modeling.



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