Anna, TX/Lancaster ISD – Lancaster High School 11th grade student, Dewitt Hunter, won third place in the Engineering Math section of the 33rd annual TAME State STEM Competition held the YMCA Collin County Adventure Camp in Anna, Texas. Hunter, who is also a member of the LHS En gineering Robotics club, was one of 28 Dallas County students selected to participate in the state-wide competition sponsored by Raytheon.
“It feels unreal. I worked very hard, and I am proud to win,’ he said. “However, it feels a bit unsatisfactory because my goal was 1st place.”
Lancaster ISD Pitsco Lab Facilitator Charles Richardson knows the intensity of the competition and was ecstatic to learn of Hunter’s achievement.
“To have a student win 3rd place in any state competition is a big deal because of the number of students involved at the state level,” Richardson said. “As one of two facilitators of the LHS Engineering Robotics Club, my philosophy concerning competitions is to have fun, maximize your effort, and learn something new as a result of the competition. More importantly, I want students to come away with a positive attitude.”
At the start of the competition, the entire group of 299 students from across the state tested their individual critical thinking skills by taking individual math and science tests. Then, the students were assigned to various combinations of schools and grade level teams to collaborate and problem solve to answer the Engineering Design Challenge question, “What could you do with a bakery box, a laser beam, six lenses and an hour?”
Students used the supplies provided to focus and diffuse a laser beam during the Engineering Design Challenge segment of the competition. Hunter said that events such as this competition offers great field learning opportunities.
“The TAME program is very beneficial to both the teacher and student,” he said. “It helps us gain exposure to the engineering field. TAME is also a part of our Engineering Robotics Club which involves skill enhancement and offers opportunities for tutoring on a weekly basis.”
This partnership between the TAME organization and the LHS Engineering Robotics Club aligns with the premise of the mission of Lancaster ISD to create, relevant learning opportunities through the use of strategic partners and academic clubs to bolster classroom learning with real world experience.
Richardson facilitates the Engineering Club and Pitsco Lab and also teaches courses such as the Concepts of Engineering and Technology, Problem Solving and Advanced Engineering to students in the Lancaster High School Engineering Career and Technical Education Pathway.
Richardson explained that the relationship of Lancaster ISD’s approach to STEM education—through its involvement in TAME—is expressed in the freedom to facilitate personal growth for teachers and students in engineering.
“This leads to a variety of opportunities to engage in professional organizations and competitions such as TAME,” Richardson said. “My personal approach to STEM education is to empower students through knowledge, skills, confidence, and achievements so they will become lifelong critical thinking problem solvers.”
The TAME State STEM Competition is an annual event organized by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME), a statewide non-profit organization committed to preparing Texas students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). TAME's annual State STEM Competition is the focus of a year of intense preparation for Texas students in TAME clubs around the state. TAME students from grades 6-12 qualified to attend the event at one of 14 Divisional STEM Competitions.
Learn more about STEM in Lancaster ISD and the secondary programs offered at our campuses at www.LancasterISD.org.