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MHS Students Earn Top Spot in State Engineering Competition for Second Year in a Row

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The McKinney High School 2020 State Champion TEAMS team (top, from left): Andy Carithers, Davis Holdstock, Maddie Davison, Amberlynn Demko (bottom, from left) Jacob Hicks, Benjamin Merrell, Mark Taylor, Jackson Dagley (Photos courtesy of Robert Gupton)

The McKinney High School 2020 State Champion TEAMS team (top, from left): Andy Carithers, Davis Holdstock, Maddie Davison, Amberlynn Demko (bottom, from left) Jacob Hicks, Benjamin Merrell, Mark Taylor, Jackson Dagley (Photos courtesy of Robert Gupton)

McKinney, Texas – Before the school closure, a team of McKinney High School engineering students earned top bragging rights as the number one TEAMS group in Texas—for the second year in a row.

TEAMS, an acronym for Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science, is a state and national competition that challenges students’ knowledge of all things engineering as they compete for top scores with students from across the state. The contest features three components: a multiple choice test, a design/build challenge and a written essay.

The test portion covered a broad range of engineering-related knowledge and skills. The design/build challenge called on the team to build a crane out of household bric-a-brac such as pencils, paper clips, dixie cups and string. The essay topic focused student research on finding real-world solutions for improving zoos while maintaining profitability.

The McKinney High School team preps at the TEAMS competition held at the University of Texas at Dallas on Feb. 19, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gupton)

This year’s MHS team—made up of returning senior Andy Carithers and senior Davis Holdstock; juniors Maddie Davison, Amberlynn Demko, Jacob Hicks, Benjamin Merrell and
Mark Taylor; and lone sophomore Jackson Dagley—competed at the University of Texas at Dallas on February 19 where they completed the multiple choice and design/build events.

With their essay submitted—but still to be scored—the MHS team headed home from UTD in a respectable fourth place position with an eye toward the standings as results continued to come in from other TEAMS competition sites over the following weeks. (The competition wasn’t scheduled to be officially closed and finalized until the end of March.)

The MHS essay sealed the victory for the team, earning a perfect score and vaulting them to first place in Texas. High school teams from Dallas, West, Austin, El Paso, Pearland and Porter rounded out the state top 10.

“I am really proud of this year’s team because of their systematic approach to solving problems,” said MHS engineering teacher Robert Gupton. “They worked as a team and solicited everyone’s feedback; everyone’s input was valued so that they would be able to produce a quality product.”

MISD STEM programs benefit from strong partnerships with local businesses such as Emerson Process Management, Raytheon, Simpson Strong-Tie, Camozzi Automation, Conduit Architecture and Design and Billings Productions. Gupton said that a portion of a recent $7,000 donation to the MHS Engineering Club from Emerson covered registration costs for MHS students to compete in TEAMS and other engineering competitions.

The MHS performance at the state level was good enough for a fifth seed among Division 11 schools (those that have more than 475 students in their graduating class) at the TEAMS national competition that was originally planned for June 27- July 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, restrictions related to COVID-19 have led to the event’s cancellation.

But, that doesn’t diminish the fact that the MHS engineering team has brought a state TEAMS victory home for the second year in a row, and it stands as testimony to the work ethic of these talented students and their teachers. And, they are probably already thinking about next year.

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