Schoharie Central School District has been named the Community Choice Winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow grant competition, in recognition of student efforts to video-document recent flood damage.
The Schoharie students clinched their victory by receiving 102,023 votes from the public through Samsung's website, topping their closest competitor by more than 13,500 votes.
Votes were cast for the project that best demonstrates how STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) can help the community.
The award was announced in an afternoon assembly yesterday, just before students ended their school day.
"Soon after we were notified by Samsung that we had won the Community Choice Award, we met with our students in an assembly to let them know, and you would have loved their cheers. It was an awesome moment," said Schoharie Superintendent Brian Sherman.
"We appreciate the many individuals and groups near and far who rallied incredible support for our students via email, social media, fliers and word-of-mouth, and are equally thankful to the media for covering the competition from start to finish. This would not have been possible without assistance in getting the word out."
Several students in grades 10-12 researched, wrote, videoed and produced their production this fall and winter. They researched possible effects of flooding, visited the Schoharie River Center and Schoharie Valley Farms, took and tested soil samples, analyzed soil and sediment data provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension after the storm, wrote reports on their findings about soils, sediment and drainage, and captured it all on video.
As a cross-academic-discipline effort involving agriculture, science, technology, engineering, math, English and multi-media, the project involved a number of teachers and staff, who worked as a team with the students in the field and at the school. The students produced videos about the impact of the flooding on Schoharie's water, weather and soil. The soil video was featured in the final competition.
"I think this is a marvelous opportunity for our students, a great morale booster for our community, and what is more important, is how it has brought everyone that much closer together as a community and let us know that there are many supporters around the country and actually around the world that share a concern for Schoharie," Superintendent Sherman said.
"We understand that there were votes from as far away as Shanghai, Europe and Australia. The support from throughout businesses, various agencies, fire departments and schools has been awesome and we would like to thank everyone for their support and concern."
As Samsung's Community Choice Award winner, Schoharie Central School will receive computer and audiovisual technology worth $100,000, a student trip to the winner announcement ceremony and possibly even a student assistance dog.
The award ceremony will be April 17-19 in Washington, DC.