Jul. 20—NORTHERN CAMBRIA, Pa. — When the Northern Cambria Technology Student Association team arrived home at the end of June after the national conference in Dallas, Texas, it wasn't just the students who brought along awards.
The group's mentor, Matthew Kline, was named the adviser of the year and given a commemorative plaque by the organization.
"It was quite an honor," he said.
Kline has been involved with TSA for 15 years as an adviser, and competed with the group during his time as a student at Northern Cambria as well.
He's also the Region 8 coordinator for Pennsylvania.
There are nine regions in the state and Kline assists with all of them in organization and getting the word out about TSA, which provides students with leadership skills along with teaching them about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Kline said what's kept him involved for so long is that he enjoys watching students be successful.
"Seeing them get to go up on stage for recognition is great, and to see them accomplish things they didn't think they could," he said.
He's also a fan of the real-world experiences provided by the program.
"This competition gives them the opportunity to learn these skills outside the classroom," Kline said.
The Northern Cambria teacher was nominated for the honor by his long-time friend and former Richland TSA adviser Brandt Hutzel, who's now the technology and engineering adviser for the state Department of Education.
The pair have known each other for more than 15 years.
"I really wanted to say thank you to Matt for everything (he's) done," Hutzel said.
He described Kline as a "rock star" in the world of Technology Student Association and commended him for going above and beyond for his learners, adding that he's thoughtful, kind, intelligent and innovative.
Before nominating his friend, Hutzel said he surveyed other advisers about the educator and they all agreed Kline would be a perfect candidate for the award because of all he does.
Kline said he's put in a lot of volunteer hours expanding and improving TSA and he's appreciative of the honor.
Hutzel noted that his friend is "very deserving" of the title.