The students of John P. Holland Charter School fell short of winning the Samsung Corporation’s “Solve for Tomorrow” contest in Washington D.C., but will receive $50,000 in technology products from the company known for its smartphones and tablets.
“We are extremely proud of our students and the teachers who helped them through each phase of the competition,” Christina Scano, principal and founder of the John P. Holland Charter School, said. “We demonstrated that children, despite their socio-economic background, who are given a school environment that encourages them to excel academically, can compete with students anywhere in the country.”
Students created a mobile application to ensure safe passage for students heading to and returning from school. The smartphone application issues an alert if the student deviates from their routine school route or presses the panic button.
The school made it to the final 10 in the nationwide competition. With a student body of 200 students, the school was the smallest among the finalist schools. It was also the only charter school to make it to the last round of the competition.
Greg Lee, the president and CEO of South Korea-based Samsung USA, encouraged students to pursue an education rich in mathematics and science to produce solutions to the world’s pressing problems.
“Work hard, and you will be very successful,” Lee told the 10 finalist schools in late April. “Promise me you will continue your education, and go to college.”
The students also met with their member of the U.S. House of Representatives. “I want to congratulate the John Holland Charter School from my hometown of Paterson for your excellent work and progressing to this level in the competition. I’m amazed by your app to track how students walking to and from school to make sure they’re safe along their route,” Rep. Bill Pascrell said.