Jason Argueta

Jason Argueta, a junior at Winder-Barrow High School, is with the transportation model, for which he won first-place in the national Technology Student Association convention.

First-place in the Technology Student Association for the second time in two years.

Jason Argueta, now a junior at Winder-Barrow High School, took the top prize for “transportation modeling” at the TSA convention in Washington.

Argueta has an ambition to capture first-place three years in a row. He is thinking about the design for next year now.

Jacob Still won the first top prize in 2017. Argueta said he “kind of wanted to continue that” and reach Still’s goal.

His first-place creation is a small train propelled by magnets. Argueta quickly said his three versions of the transportation model were nothing alike. Despite that he won first place at the first two levels and moved on to D.C.

The line of magnets, with each switching polarity, causes the cars to move, he said.

Winning at the earlier two levels is not necessary, he said. Anyone can enter a project.

His first train, in the fall of 2018, was “very basic,” he said. The one he entered in the national convention had more pizzazz.

It featured two buildings, with lights, which Argueta designed and made. The model included a convenience store under the track. He explained that he wanted to make the model “more realistic” and have more details.

The last model was a grind. He said he worked on it every day for about three weeks from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Much of that time was spent making 3D parts for the train. A good portion was required for the lights. He estimated he had more than 100 hours in the project during that three-week period.

Argueta made the model in Kimberly Garren’s class. Garren is the advisor for the TSA chapter and teaches the engineering class.

Argueta said he had the first level the second semester of his freshman year and the second level, the first semester of his sophomore year. He will take the third level course in the spring semester.

Winder-Barrow is on block scheduling for a year-long class each semester.

Argueta learned about the engineering class and TSA at Bear Creek Middle School when he took engineering and worked on a go-kart for his first project. He said he also played alto saxophone in the Bear Creek band, but he gave that up when he started high school to concentrate on the TSA projects.

Argueta said he also is involved in the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society, the Beta Club, Key Club and Anchor Club, in addition to TSA.

He said he is taking the English pathway, Spanish I and II, honors physics and AP physics this year.

He also is “thinking about” competing for a math prize.

Argueta wants to attend Georgia Tech University.

The transportation model for this year is to be a manned moon rover, he said. He already has been to the first competition – what is known as “technology day” – and was disqualified because it was not manned.

Argueta readily admits he read the description wrong. He describes his current attitude as “in a cooling period” when he is thinking about his project. He said he would start the “heavy work” in December or January.

He said he is “still thinking” about what materials to use for the rover.

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