Central MS wins “Solve for Tomorrow” contest and $15,000 in classroom resources

Central Middle School STEM Teacher Michelle Jones (center) in her eighth grade class. Jones worked with sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes for the award-winning contest.

Gonzales, La. — Central Middle School (CMS) was named a state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. Over 2,000 public schools submitted entries into the competition which were narrowed to 300 state finalists from across the country. CMS was one of five state finalists chosen from Louisiana. The other four finalists were Edna Karr High, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Livonia High, and Southern Lab School. The 300 state finalists were then narrowed to 100 state winners. Her class was the only one from Louisiana to be named a state winner.

As a reward for being named a state finalist, STEM teacher Michelle Jones received a Samsung Galaxy tablet for her classroom. As a state winner, CMS will receive $15,000 in Samsung products and classroom resources. Her class will now compete to become a national finalist. 

The nationwide contest is designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and MATH (STEM), and challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how STEM can be applied to help improve their local community.

Jones and her STEM students were tasked with creating a project that would benefit their community and submitting the blueprints to the Samsung competition committee. Being from the Gulf Coast area, natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, first came to mind. As a state winner, the students will now begin the process of building a prototype meant to ensure that people would have access to clean water in times of disaster by creating a way to use renewable resources to heat water to a boil so that it is safe to drink. They also had to keep in mind the resources that families would have during storms and the conditions that may be present when people are trying to acquire safe water. Using STEM, Jones’s students will plan out a design, create a prototype, and test their water for safe levels.

“Our goal as educators is to provide students with learning opportunities to explore, problem solve and create solutions in real-world settings. This prototype is a perfect example of that purpose. We are very proud of our students and Ms. Jones and look forward to supporting them as they prepare to create their prototype. And, we are very thankful to Samsung for providing students with this opportunity to showcase their creativity,” said Central Middle School Principal Monica Hills.

In order to compete to be named a national finalist, Ms. Jones’s class must submit a 3-minute demonstration video meant to bring their project to life. This video must be submitted by February 20, 2020.  

“Samsung is extremely proud of the evolution of the Solve for Tomorrow platform over the past 10 years: fueling students’ passion and curiosity to tackle issues that affect their communities in unexpected and creative ways,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America.

Twenty national finalists will be chosen from among the state winners and will receive a $50,000 prize package and a trip to New York for a teacher and three students to present the project to a panel of judges. The judges will then choose a community choice winner and five national winners to receive a grand prize of $100,000 for classroom resources. 

For more information about Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, visit https://www.samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow/. For more information about Ascension Public Schools, visit https://www.apsb.org/

**Please note: This press release was written by Public Information Office Intern Emma Cockram, a senior at East Ascension High School.**