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Senior from Pratt brings home TECA national championship


Special to The Hays Daily News

Zach Pixler, Pratt senior, won the national championship in the Teaching Lesson contest for the Fort Hays State University chapter of Technology Education Collegiate Association at the 75th International Technology and Engineering Educators Association's National Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

"Since we were in Columbus, home of Ohio State University, I decided to use football in my presentation," Pixler said. "I taught the student judges about the evolution of football helmet technology from leather helmets in the '30s to today's advanced helmets. At the end of the lesson, I tied everything together by stating that technology has made our modern world safer, not just football."

"All of our students did a fantastic job, but I was extremely happy when Zach Pixler won the teaching lesson," said Kim Stewart, interim chairman of the Institute of Applied Technology and TECA faculty adviser. "Zach has placed as high as second twice, so to see him become a national champion in that event his senior year was really special."

FHSU was among 18 colleges and universities from across the United States. Students placed in four of the seven contests.

The robotics team of Mason Younger, Hays junior, and Cole Studer, Atwood freshman, also brought back a national championship. FHSU also placed second in the Transportation Contest and third in Live Manufacturing. They competed in but did not place in the problem solving, live communication contest and technology challenge competitions.

"I know that my experience in this competition will make me a better educator in the future," Pixler said. "I have also gained experience in student interactions and improvising when the lesson doesn't go exactly as planned. Columbus was my fourth and final TECA trip as a student, and every trip has been fantastic. I have made lifetime friends not only from FHSU but from schools all over the nation."

Other northwest Kansas students competing included Tanner Swartz, Alexander freshman, Max Kisner, Atwood junior; Cole Studer, Atwood freshman; and Jacob Keener, Rush Center junior.