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Dante and friends at the NJTSA
From left to right, High School East's Dante Kanterezhi-gatto, Creedan Phan, and Brendan Thai were more than ready for their close-up at the 2023 NJTSA competitions held at TCNJ.

May 5, 2023-- Secondary students from across the district recently competed in the New Jersey Technical Student Association (NJTSA) competitions at the College of New Jersey.

NJTSA is the only student organization devoted exclusively to the needs of technology-education students. For Toms River students, the NJDOE-funded Middle Grades Career Awareness and Exploration grant (Bridge to the Future) and high school-level CTE Perkins supports these programs by providing advisors, buses, and admission to local competitions. Teams also fundraise throughout the school year to sustain their program. Students at Intermediate East, for example, sold stuffed turtles to raise funds for their community service turtle habitat project.

And the turtle-themed sale proved well worth it, as a team of Intermediate East students won first place for their community service video submission of their turtle garden at Island Beach State Park that is accessible to both box turtles and terrapins.

This year students were particularly excited to create audio podcasts, solve technology problems, and race dragsters. And yet again, students from Intermediate East came through, winning first prize for designing a device called the Scan EZ to help with making more effective grocery shopping lists.

And it wasn’t just Intermediate East kids who had success at TCNJ. Adam Pacheco Guerrero from Intermediate North won first prize in essays on technology for his work exploring whether mobile phones are helpful or harmful.

Also, High School East’s Dante Kanterezhi-gatto won first place in the Extemporaneous Speech topic after competing with 18 students in the category. Dante also walked away with admission into the Technology Honor Society, and silver and bronze award certificates for the TSA Achievement Program.

Dante winning at NJTSAs

Dante Kanterezhi-gatto won first place for Extemporaneous Speech.

Cooper Kuhlsen Michael Kuhlsen Bradyen Macom Alexandra Kanterezhigatto Owen Soheily and Caleb

Bradyen Macom, Alexandra Kanterezhi-gatto, Owen Soheily, Cooper Kuhlsen, and Michael Kuhlsen worked together to develop the Scan EZ to help make more effective grocery shopping lists.

This was the first competition season for many district teams, but a lack of experience clearly wasn’t an obstacle, and instead the success achieved led to increased confidence moving forward.

“Now we’ve got the designs down to get to nationals next year without question,” said High School North engineering teacher Derek Bonk (right). “For various competitions we have the skills to come back and crush it.”

For a full list of NJTSA participants, projects, and winners, see below.

NJTSA kids pose spring 2023
high school kids at NJTSA at TCNJ spring 2023
Intermediate North crew before NJTSA

NJTSA student before competition spring 2023
Derek Bonk and NJTSA partners
High School North's Derek Bonk, Haneen Amer, and Ruoyan Chen enjoy their time at the NJTSA competition.