PINEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Pineville Middle School is one of 75 national semi-finalists for the Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow” Education Contest.
The contest has been in place for over a decade and encourages secondary students to think about problems in their communities. By being named a semi-finalist, the school has already won $15,000, with up to $130,000 at stake.
“They encourage different schools to solve a problem in their community based on using STEM,” said Pineville Middle School 6th-8th Grade Science Teacher Amanda Mullins. “It’s specific to each different community what problems they have. They want to encourage 6th-12th grade students to compete in that contest.”
Mullins has been involved in this contest for several years. She lets every student in all of her classes pitch an idea and the one that got recognized this year was inspired by the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.
“A lot of the kids in our class have coal miners that are family members,” Mullins said. “Or they know somebody that was in the explosion. They wanted to come up with a device that would help improve mine safety by measuring the gases in the mine and letting them know that if there’s something wrong, they can get out faster.”
Wyoming schools were hit hard by COVID in the fall. Tuesday was the first day back in person since October 16th. To receive recognition like this at the beginning of 2021 provides a boost in more ways than one.
“We’ve had kind of a really dark year,” Mullins said. “To have something so great happen right as we come back, they’re all excited to learn now.
“Excited to get to work on the project. Hopefully, we can go farther on in the contest.”