Newark’s Oliver Street School Wins Big in National Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

School to receive $140K in technology equipment to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program

Newark NJ, March 25, 2014 – Oliver Street Elementary School (pre-K to 8th grade), part of the Newark Public School District, has been named one of five winners in the nationwide Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, which challenges students to apply STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) solutions to problems facing their local communities. The Oliver Street students’ project, Guarding the Water Supply, focuses on cleaning the polluted Passaic River, which runs through their city. The school has won $140,000 in technology for the school, which will be used to further develop their river project as well as to enhance and expand the school’s existing STEM program.
“Oliver Street School’s outstanding response to Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest reflects the hard work, ingenuity and creative thought that STEM education is all about,” said Newark Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Center. “When challenged to relate their classroom learning and knowledge of 21st century technology directly to their own neighborhood, these bright and engaged students saw a grassroots opportunity to step up as environmental stewards of the Passaic River. The combination of civic action and academic rigor on behalf of the students, exemplary teaching by James Intrabartolo and visionary leadership by Principal Doug Petty is a prime example of the kind of excellence we cultivate here at Newark Public Schools. The entire district is cheering for Oliver Street School’s great accomplishment.”
The Oliver Street School STEM team has been working on Guarding the Water Supply since the fall, when they began designing a system to reduce the amount of street garbage flowing into the Passaic River after a heavy rain. The students researched, developed and created several models of sewer grates to catch the waste. They tested the grates during a storm, assessed and innovated based on how well the designs worked. The successful prototype became Oliver Street’s contest entry, which they then presented to a panel of judges at the South By Southwest Education (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas earlier this month. Along with enthusiastic support from the officials, the team got thousands of “clicks” from their home state and across the nation as the contest was crowd-sourced through online voting. The students are hoping that their winning design can be put into actual use, both in their own community and beyond, as the grate they have designed can be modified to fit any sewer system.
Oliver Street, along with the other top five contest winners, will be able to choose their prize equipment from a list of Samsung products, which includes items like laptops printers, touchscreen displays and monitors, as well as Adobe Premier Elements licenses and cash grants from both DIRECTV and Forbes. Additionally, the winners will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a celebratory luncheon and arranged meetings with their respective senators and House representatives.
Watch the Oliver Street team explain and demonstrate their Guarding the Water Supply project in their contest video here.