Karns MS Feature

Front Page Summary: 

Karns Middle School (TN) TSA chapter combines school service and preparation for state and national competitions with the help and support of involved parents

Portions reprinted from the Knoxville News Sentinel

The Karns Middle School (Knoxville, TN) TSA chapter has turned its energies to school-based projects. Those efforts benefit the school and help students to complete tasks they will present in state and national competitions in 2009.

Of the 52 total members, ten student members are involved in the clean up and restoration of a little-used courtyard in the sixth-grade area of the school. The goal is to turn the courtyard into an outside learning center for students. In the spring, plants will be placed to attract wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Chapter advisors, Leigh Davis and Wanda Walker direct the TSA program at Karns Middle School. “It was the students’ idea. The courtyard had been an eyesore for so long and they realized they could use the project as the basis for the Manufacturing Challenge and Construction Challenge projects they wanted to do for state and national competitions,” said advisor Leigh Davis.

Included in the project is the addition of picnic tables for the area. TSA parent, Kevin Dean works in the construction field and taught the students how to build the picnic tables over three Saturday work days. Supplies for the tables were secured from area businesses by Randy Wiles, a parent of one of the students. He and his wife Cherrie helped supervise student workdays once a week after school and on designated Saturdays. Robin Jenkins, another parent volunteer, is working with her daughter on making imprinted stepping stones for walking areas in the courtyard. “The project was really supervised by the parents involved. The students were so excited. They completed most of the work on weekends, even working outdoors in the courtyard on cold, rainy Saturdays,” said advisor Leigh Davis.

The students are building bird houses and feeders as a part of the project. They will sell these in order to raise funds for maintaining the courtyard and for TSA activities outside classroom. The money can also be used to offset expenses of trips to the state and national conferences. The state conference will be in April. The Karns chapter plans to compete in the Construction and Manufacturing Challenge events. The students will also compete in the Chapter Team competition. The students plan to go on to national conference in Denver, Colorado in the summer if they win at the state level.

TSA Chapter President Trevor Dixon is excited about the work his fellow chapter members are completing. "The project is supposed to help the community in some way, and we felt that our efforts could best be used to do something for Karns Middle," he said. Trevor’s involvement in TSA is a bit of a family tradition. Trevor is the younger brother of National TSA President, Eric Dixon. Eric was also a member of the Karns MS TSA chapter and the boys’ mother, Sheila Dixon, has been involved with TSA for several years. Leigh Davis said, “Ms. Dixon has played an enormous role in supporting our TSA chapters. She has travelled with us to state and national competitions for more than five years.”