CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Students in Chesapeake just won big for using their STEM skills to improve bus transportation routes in the community.
Great Bridge High School has been named one of 10 National Finalists in the 12th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a nationwide education competition which challenges students in grades 6-12 to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to address local issues and inspire change in their communities.
Paula Labbe is the teacher who guided the students' project. Last month, they were named one of two state winners in the contest.
As a National Finalist, Great Bridge High School has won $50,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies for their project to improve bus transportation routes.
The students created AcceleRoute, a system to help bus drivers construct personalized and efficient routes determined by the students they are transporting on a given day. As the students board the bus, they swipe a programmed card that connects to an app that will determine the most efficient route to transport all students to their homes. The system increases efficiency and bus ridership while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In just a few weeks, they will participate in a pitch event, where they will present their project to a panel of judges in hopes to be named one of three National Winners and take home the grand prize of $100,000.
The local Chesapeake community is encouraged to help Great Bridge High School win an additional $10,000 as Community Choice winners by voting online here. You can vote once a day until 11:59 p.m. on April 23.
“The students that participate in this program are fearless and continue to tackle some of the greatest national issues like sustainability and accessibility with the most innovative and creative solutions we’ve seen to date,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “From coast to coast, these students have taken charge of their future and we’re proud to see how they have creatively bridged STEM and social impact. We’re thankful to stand with and support another class of Solve for Tomorrow teachers and students as they set out to make an impact in their own - communities and the world."
Watch the Great Bridge High students explain their project below: