Newell School wins $25,000 in technology, advances in national contest

Published: Jan. 31, 2017 at 10:14 AM CST
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Newell School in Newell has been named the South Dakota state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a program that encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

Newell School is among the nation’s 51 state winners (representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C.) and will receive $25,000 in technology with a chance to become one of the 10 national finalists.

Each state winner will receive an ATIV Book 9 laptop to create a video showcasing their proposed solution to the local problem – all with a share of $2 million on the line.

To ensure students and teachers have the necessary materials to bring their projects to life, Samsung is partnering with crowdsourcing site Indiegogo to help schools raise funds online. To kick off the crowdfunding campaigns, Samsung will provide a seed donation of $250 toward each school project, and match up to an additional $250.

In addition, students will be able to effect even greater change in their local communities by selecting and advocating for a local charity of choice, in an effort to win a donation on its behalf. The school has selected Lions Club as the local nonprofit that will receive a donation from Samsung if the school is selected as a national winner later this spring.

The local problem chosen: Newell School has limited financial resources to provide students with adequate playground equipment, which leads students to stay inside, restricting opportunities for outdoor physical activity.

Proposed project: Anna Erk and her students will use STEAM skills to design a play structure for the school playground to encourage student engagement and activity.

For the next several weeks, all 51 state winners will create 3-minute videos demonstrating their proposed project and how they are bringing it to life.

From this pool of 51 state winners, 10 national finalists will be selected. The national finalists will then pitch their idea live in New York to a panel of judges and America will be able to vote on their favorite ideas.

From there, three national winners will be named and honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., where they will also get the opportunity to meet their Congressmen and Senators. The winning schools will receive a $150,000* technology grant as well as a $20,000* donation to their NGO of choice.