Natchez Middle School named state finalist in national Samsung STEM competition

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

NATCHEZ — Natchez Middle School is one of five in Mississippi selected as a state finalist in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition.

Samsung Electronics America announced that 300 public schools across America have been named State Finalists. These schools represent the best of more than one thousand competition entrants, the company stats. Each State Finalist has won a package of $2,500 in technology and school supplies.

The Mississippi State Finalists are:

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·      Moss Point Career & Technical Education Center in Gulfport, MS

·      Jackson Public School’s Career Development Center in Jackson, MS

·      East Central High School in Moss Point, MS

·      Natchez Middle School in Natchez, MS

·      Oxford High School in Oxford, MS

These State Finalists advance to additional stages of the national competition that will culminate in three schools being selected in May as National Winners and receive $100,000 prize packages.

The full list of State Finalists can be found here.

Solve for Tomorrow challenges U.S. public middle and high school students in grades 6 through 12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math — the core STEM subjects — can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition engages students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems — making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

Students participating in this year’s competition have boldly entered their game-changing ideas to tackle geopolitical matters (Ukraine), climate change, school safety, personal safety, mental health, school bus commuting, and more.

“As a company and as individuals, STEM is incredibly important to Samsung – we depend on STEM-savvy people to envision, implement, and engage with innovative STEM-dependent products and services,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, Chief Marketing, Citizenship and Communications Officer of Samsung Electronics America. “Between 2019 and 2029, the number of STEM jobs are predicted to grow 8 percent, a higher rate than non-STEM jobs. But while STEM skills are key to a 21st-century workforce, we know that national test scores in STEM subjects like Math have fallen by the largest margin in 30-plus years. Solve for Tomorrow was designed to provide schools and teachers with an innovative, problem-based learning approach to STEM education to boost student interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM. This fresh crop of impressive State Finalists is proof that we’re succeeding.”

Ann Woo, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, of Samsung Electronics America, noted several significant trends in the program proposals submitted this fall, “Every year’s entries provide a window into the concerns and aspirations on the minds of that cohort of middle and high school students,” Woo said. “A common theme this year is ‘connecting’ – whether that’s connecting people to people, peer to peer, across generations, or even around the globe. In fact, one school’s entry is based on its connection with a school in Ukraine – proposing a solution for providing solar power to students in a war-ravaged community. Climate change, school/student safety, and mental health are other top issues of concern for this year’s problem-solvers.”

“Giving students a voice in real-life issues affecting their communities allows them to see firsthand the change they can create in the world,” said Harry Preston, Computer Science teacher at Baltimore’s Green Street Academy, who is a State Finalist in this year’s competition and a 2021-2022 National Finalist. “We find our students are more engaged in our lessons and excited to learn new subjects when they are given the opportunity to learn through the kinds of hands-on experience Solve for Tomorrow delivers.”

From the pool of State Finalists announced today, State Winners will be announced in mid-February 2023.

Next Steps

  • Teachers and students at each State Finalist school across the country are now asked to submit lesson plans detailing how their proposed STEM project will address the identified community issue.
  • Based on those plans, 50 State Winners will be selected to receive a prize of $20,000 in technology and supplies and advance to the next phase of the competition. Each State Winner will also be given a video kit to help document their project in action.
  • One of the 50 State Winners will also be named the Sustainability Innovation Award Winner, receiving an additional $50,000 prize package of eco-conscious classroom technology.
  • From those video submissions, 10 National Finalists will be chosen to pitch their project to a team of judges. Seven National Finalists will each receive a $50,000 prize package and three National Winners will each be awarded the ultimate prize package worth $100,000.
  • Of the 10 National Finalists, one Community Choice Winner will be named through online public voting, winning an additional $10,000 in Samsung technology, and one Employee Choice Winner will be selected by Samsung employees to also receive $10,000 of technology in addition to their national winnings.
  • More information on the competition and competition phases is also available at:

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 to encourage innovative thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork to address the most pressing issues impacting society. Today, the competition fosters critical thinking and creative problem-solving, anchored in problem-based learning. To date, Samsung has awarded $24 million in technology and classroom materials to nearly 3,000 public schools in the United States. Solve for Tomorrow has been so impactful that it has expanded into a prominent Global citizenship program for Samsung Electronics now running in 33 countries worldwide and reaching over 2.1 million students around the world.