CHS senior takes 2nd place at state technology competition

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For someone who just wanted to see how he measured up against other audio/visual enthusiasts, Hayes Miller did pretty well. 

The Cartersville High School senior took second place in video production at the Georgia Student Technology Competition Saturday at Middle Georgia State University’s Macon campus after winning the Northwest Regional Tech Competition Jan. 25 at Georgia Highlands College’s Rome campus.

“I think Hayes is well-deserving of this recognition,” said CHS instructional technology specialist Mary Ann Little, who was Cartersville's district coordinator. “Hayes has amazing talent and vision, which is evident in his video production. His project was also special in its purpose of promoting the Backpack Buddies program, which benefits so many in Cartersville City and Bartow County schools.”  

Miller, 18, competed against more than two dozen regional and independent-school winners in his category at the state competition, where 1,200 students from across Georgia presented more than 820 projects in 73 categories.

“It’s an honor to represent Cartersville High School at the video competition,” he said. “I believe that the video and the impact behind it is what is more important to me than placing in the competition. It’s awesome that the judges gave me such good feedback and made me feel that my video was amazing and put on a great platform.”

The Cartersville native, who was awarded a silver medal and was recognized on the Georgia State Tech Consortium website for his second-place finish, said he received a judging time when he checked in at the competition.

“At my time, I was guided into the room in which I gave the judges a 15-minute presentation, explaining the process behind shooting, editing and releasing the video and mainly explaining my purpose as to why I created it,” he said. “I believe that’s why I placed so well is because the judges believed in my purpose and were behind advocating for the Backpack Buddies program.” 

As rewarding as it was to place at state, Miller said it also “felt great to win the region competition.”

“It was the first time my work has been put up against others, and I believe it gave me a newfound confidence in what I do produce,” he said.

Cartersville High juniors Tyler Turner and Nicholas Francek also won first place in robotics at the regional competition and represented Cartersville at state. 

“They did not place; however, they received glowing comments from the judges about their creativity, real-world application and knowledge of their robotics project,” Little said. “They are looking forward to next year to compete at regionals and, hopefully, again at state.”  

Little said she was “proud to have these students represent Cartersville High School, the school system, as well as our northwest Georgia region.”

“I am happy that the state event provided an opportunity for them to spotlight their ability, knowledge and creativity,” she said.  

The three competitors were each awarded a gold medal as well as an invitation to the state competition for winning the regional. 

At Monday night’s school board meeting, Principal Shelley Tierce bragged about her students’ success at the two competitions to board members. 

“Last board meeting, we mentioned how we had three kids who went to the RESA [Regional Educational Service Agency] technology competition, and we thought, ‘We’re just going to go and see how this goes,’” she said. “So they placed and went on to the state, and this past Saturday, Hayes Miller placed second in the state with his technology through RESA with an emphasis in audio/video. But the kids really just went to see how they could do, and our other two students, they did great with robotics. We’re proud of all of them, but Hayes really showed out this past weekend at the technology convention.”

Little wanted CHS students to enter the contest for the experience they would gain from participating in it. 

“I think we have a lot of innovative technology instruction in our school that fosters student technology skill development,” she said. “This competition provides a good opportunity for our students to work together to create and problem solve, see what is happening in other school programs as well as showcase our technology programs.” 

“I wanted to enter the competition to see how I could compete against other students who have a hobby and passion in the field,” Miller said. “Mrs. Mary Ann Little was my main motivator behind that, and I give her a huge thank you for showing me to the competition.”

Little already is eagerly anticipating next year’s event.

“I look forward to returning to the robotics competition with Nick and Tyler as well as having more students from Cartersville High participate in other categories as well,” she said. “I hope this is the start of more technology competition for our school. We have wonderful technology programs at CHS.”