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Public Faculty No. Eight College students Named State Winners in Samsung Nationwide STEM Contest

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PATERSON, NJ – An innovative plan by three local students inspired by the solar panels that generate energy from their school’s roof and uses the photosynthesis process in plants to conserve and recycle water has won School No. 8 $15,000 in technology and classroom materials

The team, led by Karen Vargas, Ashely Martinez, and Lorena Cruz, has been named one of 100 teams in the country to advance to the second round in Samsung’s “Solve for Tomorrow” contest, a $3 million national competition that encourages students in grades 6 to 12 to creatively use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to solve a community challenge.

“Our student-scientists at Public School No. 8 are continuing to make everyone in the district very proud,” Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer said. “They are to be commended for their above-and-beyond efforts in participating in the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest. I want to thank their teachers, their principal and their parents for supporting this wonderful team of students. We wish them all the best in the next round of the contest.”

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Top teams in each state were selected for their outstanding activity plan proposals outlining how students will execute their Samsung Solve for Tomorrow project using STEM. The announcement made by Samsung today comes after Public School No. 8’s team was named one of 300 state finalists last November in the contest in which there were more than 2,000 applications submitted. 

Sham Bacchus, principal of Public School No. 8, noted that all three student leaders had immigrated to Paterson just a few years ago and are part of the school’s bilingual magnet program. The program is designed to ease the academic transition for students who are English language learners. The proposal was submitted with the help of teachers Martha Cruz, Ivette Soto and Anibal Cintron.

Now in its 10th year, the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving skills among thousands of students across the country.

“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. “Reading the innovative proposals students and teachers have put forth this year exemplifies what we know to be true for every student – that young minds have just as much to teach as they do to learn. Our guiding citizenship vision is ‘Enabling People,’ and we are thrilled to celebrate another year of empowering future innovators to achieve their full potential through STEM learning.”

During the next two months, the students, as well as other state winners across the nation, will develop their STEM prototypes and capture their progress using their new Samsung video kit as well as their State Winner prize package. Each school will submit a three-minute video that showcases their project in action for a chance to be named one of 20 National Finalist schools in March.

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