A long, long time ago (4 years), in a land far, far away (right here, actually)…

The Technology and Engineering Club was created at Lower Merion HS as a chapter of Technology Student Association (TSA), which is a national organization that holds regional, state, and national level competitions in many areas of technology and engineering. Over time the club also began to compete in other small competitions such as a beam engineering competition at Drexel University. Last year, thanks to Mr. Kressly, we started Dawgma 1712.

Are there any other teams out there that have a TSA chapter in the same group of students, work with a TSA chapter (or other similar type of group) in some way, or just have a TSA chapter in the same school? I’m curious about how other teams organize that.

Back when i was in high school my team (212) have both TSA and FIRST, same thing with team 168, but both teams TSA took a backseat to FIRST.

Students at my school can become a part of TSA and compete in that through a vocational program. But our FIRST Robotics team is unrelated to it. I do know TSA has its own little robot competition thing, if i remember right the dimensions were pretty small, maybe a bit bigger than a sumo bot.


Do you have a link for this organization?

Just curious.


Al Ostrow

Well if you are refeering to the TSA website itself its address is

Yep, that’s the one. TSA is also organized into state delegations, and the Pennsylvania TSA website is

The chapter’s website is

Having just checked TSA’s web site and looking at the bylaws, I think most public schools would or should have a problem getting involved with them. And what’s with the dress code?

I myself do not know much about the bylaws, because i was not fully involved in it at the vocational building i went to. I do know however that the dress code is not applied everywhere, only suring certain competitions or certain parts of the competitions. I had friends that actually went to a competition wearing normal clothes except for when judging was going on.

TSA is something to prepare you for the business world and learn at the same time, at least thats my view of it. However i find that i have learned more from other things than i would being a part of TSA, however they do have some good projects that would get your head gears turning for a while.

What part of the bylaws are you referring to?

It’s true that TSA is more business oriented. Events at conferences are much more decentralized than FIRST competitions, but there are business meetings where everyone has to wear business attire. Events involving interviews and presentations also require business attire, but people can wear casual clothing in events involving construction and while not in an event.

I think TSA is less technically involved than FIRST, but it’s more general and one student can easily focus on multiple areas.

I’m referring to the part where they seem to place more emphasis on pushing religion than technology. This places limits on who can play. And as for the dress code, they seem to want to push buying the “uniform” at the company store. I’m not, per se, against having a dress code, but having to buy the official uniform also places limits on who can or would want to play.

You mean these sections?

• I will make it my goal to do better each day the task before me, and to be steadfast in my belief in my God, and my fellow Americans.


The colors of TSA shall be scarlet (red), white, and blue (navy). Scarlet (red) represents the strength and determination of the technology education students and teachers to obtain their goal. White represents high standards, morals, and religious beliefs.

Yes, those sections.

Well i think what really matters, regardless of wether its TSA, FIRST, both, or some other organization, is that students have the chance to learn about what they want and have fun doing it.

Then if the goal of the organization is to encourage the youth of the United States to learn about and pursue technology, why not make it open to all? Why use it as a lure for what appears to be some ulterior motive? Or only open to those who happen to agree with our political and religious agenda?

I do agree with that. I remember when doing anything with TSA it would always have to be official TSA things, for example, what has already been brought up there dress attire, they definitly prefeer that you buy your clothes from there store. Your right in the point that it should be like FIRST open to everyone without having to agree with certain things.

However, the vocational school i went to that had TSA also had quite an abundance of students involved with it, while the bylaws seem to push religion and politics i found that people who don’t even believe in god, or steer away from politics were still involved. They learned just as much and had just as much fun as any of the other students.

TSA’s bylaws may state one thing but from what i seen where i was at quite a few of those bylaws don’t apply anymore. Myself i do not know about TSA on a national level but i can tell you what i have seen locally which i feel i have covered pretty well, maybe not with the best wording but hey i want to be an engineer not an english professor.

Oh, yeah…TSA is a “very conservative” organization. Strict rules and formality, rigid parliamentary procedure in meetings, very bureaucratic, largely Christian, big politics (student officers), traditional…but it’s still open to everyone and religion isn’t actually involved in conferences. One can go to a conference get the impression that the whole thing is horrible and impractical, and I think some of it could change, but it does teach respect for an organized system, historical tradition in some ways, and in particular, professionalism.

If those bylaws don’t apply anymore, then they should be removed. When you were involved with TSA did they ask you to say you’d uphold their creed? At the formal meetings and competitions, did they start with an invocation? Some people get involved with things without reading the fine print about what they belong to. The other thing I’ve found is that if you join a particular group, they assume you agree with them and next thing you know, may be representing you that way to others. Standing mute is interpreted as agreement. I personally won’t do that.

Does the creed ever get read at the meetings? If so, then that makes it not open to all. Maybe they’ll let you in the door. Maybe they’ll let you stay if you keep your mouth shut. But I suspect that if you try to rock the boat about such things, you’ll find otherwise.


My high school has a TSA club and this year we will be working with them. Honestly I’ve never heard the creed read and my school has a relaxed method for going about all their rules. I know my teacher is currently trying to get them to change the dress code atleast in the Richmond, VA area. Our TSA’s purpose is mainly to learn and we plan on entering competitions. Frequently, we skip all of the formailities, but I’m not sure how comon that is with other TSAs. This year, Robotics and TSA will work together because it can benefit both by sharing knowledge and helps to bring similar interests together. I am confident that we will be succesful. As far as the bylaws stated above I’ll look into them and ask my teacher when he is back in town.

Don’t get me wrong–I might have exaggerated–it isn’t too controlling for individuals, and the bylaws aren’t supposed to be hidden or fine print. The creed is sometimes recited in a meeting, but it doesn’t commit you anything unreasonable by a stretch. The bylaws are mostly about how TSA should be organized and led nationally, and how delegations and voting work. A TSA member is not expected to conform to a set of beliefs, religion, or ideology, or supress disagreement.

When I said “largely Christian” I meant that many members are Christian, not that TSA is based on Christianity, although in TSA, religion should be recognized.

The bylaws are still in use.

Our chapter is also very relaxed.

My point is that TSA has a focus on morals, respect, professionalism, high standards, leadership, and organizational structure as well as technology education. It’s very different from FIRST, but has very similar goals.