Carthage High School senior Mary Katherine Smith said she believes the Technology Student Association is about more than awards; it is about learning how to lead in a technical world.

That purpose brought dozens of students in middle and high school to the Recreation Outreach Center at First Baptist Church in Longview for two days of regional competition. Those who place in the top three in their events qualify for state. Competition continues today.

According to its website, TSA is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students compete in different STEM events.

On Monday, Smith, 18, who also is the state TSA president, qualified for state in video editing, chroma key editing, on-demand video and chapter team.

Video editing and chroma key editing are done ahead of time and submitted, Smith said.

Chroma key editing is editing a video with green screen. On-demand video is an on-site event. Students shoot and edit a one-minute video with certain stipulations.

Chapter team is an event that students can go to nationals in, Smith said. Students work together to run a business meeting and are judged on how well they know parliamentary procedure.

Smith said competing in TSA has shaped her time in high school.

“You have a group of people all united for one common purpose,” she said. “Our motto is ‘learning to lead in a technical world,’ and we recognize our world is becoming more technical. We’re all brought together through leadership, through learning different technical things.”

TSA students also have to make leadership resumes and do interviews for some events, Smith said. Students also wear business attire and are expected to act professionally.

“You’re almost grooming yourself to become what you’re going to do in your life,” she said. “It’s a career and technical organization, so we’re doing a lot of skills we want to do in our career. For me, it’s videoing and communicating, so I’m learning a lot of those skills now. It’s helping me become that person I’m going to be in the future. I’m learning how to conduct myself in that type of environment.”

Two Longview High School students also qualified for state in their events Monday.

Michael Reed, 18, and James “J.T.” Markowitz, 16, both competed in flight endurance.

The students had to build an airplane from a kit they received earlier in the year out of balsa wood and a Mylar material, Reed said. At competition, the planes are shot off with a rubber band that helps the propeller spin. The goal is to keep the plane in the air the longest.

Reed said he spends most of the year trying to improve his plane.

“It’s a constant. Every time you try something, you go back,” he said. “You never stop working on it. To build it takes a full day, but you’re always working on it.”

Markowitz said TSA has taught him useful skills.

“Whenever you’re on the floor messing with balsa wood, making the same part four times, it teaches perseverance,” he said.

Participating in TSA looks good on a college application, Reed said.

“I did it mainly for that, and I’ve got a lot of good friends,” he said. “It teaches good life skills.”