Brookside Middle School robotics students earn national recognition to go with world honor

National Technology Student Association presents awards to school and its team adviser during conference in Orlando

Brookside Middle School team members and their advisor test their Rawr XD robot during the VEX Robotics World competition in Louisville. Ky.: (from left) Quinn Coomer, adviser Joel Kaplan, Cannon Spencer, Armand Segui, Andreas Zeitler and chaperone Mark Zeitler. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools

The Brookside Middle School chapter has been named No. 1 in Florida by the National Technology Student Association (NTSA), the Sarasota County School District has announced.

The chapter, which sponsors competitive robotics teams, also has received the NTSA Chapter Excellence Award, a news release says, and its faculty adviser, Joel Kaplan, has been honored as the TSA Adviser of the Year.

The awards were presented during the National TSA Conference, held June 21-25 in Orlando, the release adds. The Advisor of the Year award is based on student nominations, the release notes.

“It has been a banner year for Brookside Middle School’s Technology Student Association,” the release continues. In addition to the top state ranking for one team, another group of Brookside students this spring celebrated a ranking of No. 25 in the world for middle school robotics skills; that recognition came during the VEX Robotics Competition in Louisville, Ky., in April.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have such great teams of students in our TSA program this year, and I’m so proud of their accomplishments,” said Kaplan in the release. “It has been a great honor and pleasure to be the advisor for such a dedicated team of hardworking students. To our knowledge, this is the first year a school has earned this number of distinctions in the same year, and we are very excited to see what our students continue to achieve,” he added in the release.

Brookside Middle School is located at 3636 S. Shade Ave. in Sarasota.