By Linda Looney-Bond
Several Clayton County schools are preparing to compete this week in the annual Technology Student Association competition in Athens.
Defending champion Lovejoy High School has won the state competition for the past two years, according to Tim Schmitt, improvement specialist for Career Technical and Agricultural Education for the Clayton County school system.
"They're gaining a great deal of technical skill, but also gaining a great deal of leadership skills," said Schmitt, who is a former long-time advisor for the Lovejoy TSA class.
During the competition, which is Wednesday through Friday, "students from all over the state compete in more than 30 technological events, from film [and] video, to public speaking, to robotics events," said Schmitt.
Other events during the competition include web design, desktop publishing and engineering design, according to Steve Price, engineering and technology education instructor for Riverdale High School.
Riverdale High School won the state competition in 2005 and 2006.
Price said many may not be aware that Clayton County schools serve as a model for TSA programs around the state and elsewhere.
"We've had people brought in from different countries and different states" to observe the program, said Price, who has taught the class at Riverdale High School for 11 years. "This is a more real-world environment than what a lot of school systems have," he said.
"We've had support from the county level to build a program that people copy," said Price.
Riverdale High School sophomore Osahon Imarhiagbe, 15, is working on a robot that he will enter in the state competition.
"I'd like to become a technician, or something that deals with technology," he said. "There's a growing demand for technicians and they make a lot of money."