Area school wins $20,000 in technology
New Bridge Middle School to compete in national competition
New Bridge Middle School was recently selected as the state winner in the Samsung STEM Challenge, which aims to raise interest in science, technology, engineering and math by challenging students and teachers to apply their classroom learning to solve a real-world issue in their local community.
Julie Baile, science lab coordinator and teacher, said that she learned of the challenge through a school-wide email from the school’s principal, Christopher Barnes. Barnes sends out a weekly email and includes available projects in the email, she said.
“I emailed him and said I had an idea,” Baile said.
Baile and an eighth grade class consisting of 30 students will work at Sturgeon City to compare the water quality to what it was 15 years ago, help finalize the oyster reef similar to how students helped plant marsh grass 13 years ago, put plaques in the downtown area reminding residents of the New River’s presence and more.
“New Bridge kids started it and New Bridge kids will finish it,” Baile said.
And while they work, they will document the experience in a short video to submit for a chance to win at the national level.
Baile said that the timing for the challenge was perfect since eighth grade students will study hydrology when the new semester starts.
New Bridge Middle School beat out 120 North Carolina Schools in the competition, according to information from New York Public Affairs on behalf of Samsung. They will now compete among 51 state finalists, including Washington D.C.
On top of the $20,000 in technology, the school also received Samsung products and Adobe software to compete in the next phase of the competition.
“We congratulate these winners,” said David Steel, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics North America, via a news release. “The creativity and quality of these projects has raised the level of this competition to new heights. We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen from these participants. Not only are we excited to see these projects come to life but also how these young people will use STEM after this contest to improve their own futures as well as the wider world.”
Baile said that the process has been a bit stressful, especially when she was preparing the lesson plan that would be judged.
“I kept thinking ‘this is a $20,000 lesson plan,’” she said with a laugh.
But she also thought that it was a lesson plan that could go far in the competition and in the community.
Baile said the competition at this point is a “win-win” since the school has already won $20,000 in technology, which she thinks will consist of computers and tablets.
From the state finalists, 15 national finalists will be chosen to compete for five winning slots. Three of the five winners will be selected by a panel of judges, one by Samsung employees and one by public online voting that will take place from Feb. 14 to March 13.
The 15 national finalists will each receive a technology package valued at $35,000 while the five national winners will receive a package valued at $140,000 and be honored at an April awards ceremony in Washington D.C., according to the company.
Amanda Hickey is the government reporter at The Daily News. She can be reached at amanda.hickey@ jdnews.com .