Northwest STEM Team Returns To Nationals In Historic Year

Northwest STEM Team Returns To Nationals In Historic Year

Northwest Middle School students load the bus before heading to Lexington, Kentucky, on June 28, 2023, for the 2023 TSA National Conference.

A team of bright minds from Northwest Middle School competed this summer at the Technology Student Association (TSA) National Conference in Lexington for the first time in nearly two decades. 

STEM teacher Tracy Anderson restarted the Northwest TSA chapter in 2017, after a five-year break. The team has seen major triumphs at the local and state level since the program has been back, and is one of several KCS schools that participated.

In addition to accomplishing their goal of attending the national conference this year, one eighth grader earned a special recognition, adding to their historic year.

Anderson Vasquez Francisco was the only middle school student in the country to receive the TSA Gold Achievement Award this year. 

Gold Achievement requires students to immerse themselves in STEM education, community service, and personal development. 

“It was hard. It took a lot of dedication, but I knew that if I got it, I’d be happy,” Vasquez Francisco said.

He was recognized during a ceremony for his outstanding achievement, along with three other KCS high school students. 

Vasquez Francisco, along with many of his classmates, competed in several events, like data science and analytics, website design, robotics, chapter team, and foundations of IT. 

Although the team didn’t place in the top 10 of their events, Anderson was thankful to have the opportunity to take her students to Lexington. 

The team qualified for the national competition last year, but they couldn’t afford the trip to Texas. 

While a college and career grant covered the bus fee for the trip, students sold chocolate bars to raise additional funds. After a year of hard work, they were finally able to attend the conference earlier this summer.

“I’m so proud of them for completing and entering projects, doing their best work on events, and working hard to ‘wow’ judges in interviews,” Anderson said. “They now know what has to be done in those finals and plan to work hard for next year in Orlando.”


Several KCS schools competed at the TSA National Conference this year. Below is a list of results for the schools in attendance. A full list can be found here

Farragut High

  • 7th place in Engineering Design
  • 8th place in Fashion Design and Technology

Hardin Valley Academy

  • 7th place in Chapter Team

Hardin Valley Middle

  • 3rd in Chapter Team
  • 8th in Video Game Design
  • 9th in Data Science and Analytics
  • Middle School Chapter Advisor of the Year – Riley Speas

Karns High

  • 1st in Debating Technological Issues
  • 3rd in Chapter Team
  • Gold Achievement Award – Eli Hicks
  • Gold Achievement Award – Meredith Morgan
  • Technology Honor Society – Eli Hicks

Powell High

  • Gold Achievement Award – Brian Galvan