Other Caesar Rodney district winners
Chapter adviser of the year: Jim Medved, Postlethwait Middle School
Fourth place, digital photography: Johnny Bui, Postlethwait Middle School
Eighth place, technology problem solving: Postlethwait Middle School
Eighth place, techno talk: Postlethwait Middle School
Ninth place, community service video: Postlethwait Middle School
Third place, website design: Postlethwait Middle School

Katheryn Hartley is a triple threat in the world of extra-curricular activities. During her eighth-grade year at Postlethwait Middle School she was a member of the cheer team, a saxophonist in the school band ensemble, jazz band and marching band, she earned the lead in the school play and, to top it all off, she took top honors at the national Technology Student Association conference held at the end of June.

The rising ninth grader placed in the top three in two categories at the national level. She and her teammates from Postlethwait took third place in the website design category and Katheryn took second in the digital photography competition, beating out students not only from across the nation, but from across the globe, as well.

"I felt excited and surprised because I went against the best three people from every state and other countries," Katheryn said. "It was really exciting because I went against all these other people and I was better than all of them in that event. It was crazy."

In order to qualify for the national competition, Katheryn had to first place at the Delaware Technology Student Association conference held in April. She received third place in digital photography at the state level. She then took her winning photos to the national competition and presented them before a panel of judges. Her photos earned her a finalist spot at nationals.

"I had no idea I would finalize because I got third place at state," Katheryn said. "I didn't think I would be able to finalize at nationals. It was pretty exciting."

After qualifying as a finalist, she and her fellow competitors were given several hours to take pictures inside the hotel where the national conference was being held. The topic for the photos was technology and numbers. Once Katheryn had snapped her photos, she picked a few favorites and used Photoshop CS6 to edit and enhance the images.

A fellow TSA teammate showed Katheryn the basics of Photoshop, and from there Katheryn practiced editing photos with the software until she got the hang of it.

"Photoshop has showed me how to take a normal picture and find something in it and make it stand out to show what the picture is really about," Katheryn said.

She used effects like blurring the back ground or creating a gradient on the background to help the subjects of her photos stand out.

"I enhanced them by selecting my main thing in the picture and I brightened it so it would stick out," Katheryn said. "For one photo I made it black and white, so the topic in the picture really stood out."

After editing her photos, the 14-year-old was interviewed by a panel of judges and explained how she edited her photos and why they related to the topic of technology and numbers.

Photography is something that Katheryn has been interested in since a young age, but last year she entered a whole new ball game. She got a Nikon D3200 and the new camera took her photography to a whole new level, she said.

Katheryn's second-place photos earned her a trophy, which will be displayed in the Postlethwait Middle School trophy case. Katheryn, who begins high school this coming fall, intends to continue her TSA career.

"I've learned a lot from TSA. It makes you well-rounded. You deal with a lot of different situations and see a lot of different things," she said. "I feel like placing in digital photography showed me that I can do well and I can do better."