Dawes students advance to state finals in STEM contest

A team of students from Dawes Middle School is one of only five in Nebraska - and the only middle school team - to advance to the state finals in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition.

Dawes is among 300 teams in the country still vying to win the 10th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a program that encourages middle school and high school students to solve real-world issues in their community using their STEM knowledge.

The Dawes students chose to tackle the issue of water conservation.

"They were really concerned about the amount of wasted water that we have, after the voluntary and mandatory water restrictions that we had in Lincoln last spring," said Kristin Page, a skilled and technical science teacher at Dawes who is working with the STEM team. "The students are talking about smart sprinkler systems or smart irrigation systems in terms of distance so that it decreases the amount of water wasted on the sidewalks or the roads."

“We can make a difference,” said Dakota Chambers, an eighth-grader. “We have the chance to be the difference.”

Added Ryan Olson, another eighth-grade team member: “Just because we're young and short doesn't mean we aren't as smart as other people.”

The Dawes students will finish their project design sometime in the next couple weeks. After that, 100 state winner schools will advance and receive $15,000 in technology and supplies, as well as a video kit to help showcase their project. Eventually, five winning teams will receive $100,000 in technology and classroom materials, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., to present their projects to members of Congress.

The other members of the team, all eighth-graders, are Garret Carter, Beau Belgum, J'Cadence Lytle, Ali Al-Mishal and Paden Smith.

Published: November 26, 2019, Updated: November 26, 2019

"We can make a difference. We have the chance to be the difference."

Dakota Chambers, eighth-grade student at Dawes