Published on December 4th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five teacher named a state finalist in Samsung ‘Solve for Tomorrow’ contest

Pictured: Irmo Middle School math teacher Odessa Hilton. Hilton is one of five South Carolina finalists and 255 state finalists nationwide in this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest

IRMO – A Lexington-Richland School District Five middle school teacher has been named a state finalist in a nationwide contest aimed at promoting the community benefits of STEM-focused education.

Irmo Middle School math teacher Odessa Hilton is one of five South Carolina finalists and 255 state finalists nationwide in this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.  Picked for her proposal to implement math lessons into recycling efforts at the international academic magnet school, Hilton is in the running to be named a state winner and receive $20,000 in technology. As a finalist, she already has received two Samsung Galaxy tablets for her classroom and a teacher development course from PBS TeacherLine.

“It’s a great honor to be chosen out of 3,100 applicants nationwide,” Hilton said. “I was surprised. I was amazed. I was so excited to show everyone here at the school. It’s truly a great honor I share with my students and the entire Irmo Middle School family.”

Thousands of schools nationwide annually participate in the Samsung contest, asking teachers to pose ways to improve their communities through the use of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

As part of Hilton’s contest proposal, students would: explore the importance of recycling, classify materials that are recyclable into renewable and non-renewable resource categories, explore ways to educate the community on recycling and present their findings using presentations or commercials they can share with the school population.

Hilton said, “The hope is that students are intrigued further to either study issues in their own environment or become engineers or environmentalists. We also hope to increase our levels of recycling at the school by 10 percent… It’s all a part of our effort to make sure students are taking ownership and thinking about the world around them.”

Contest organizers say STEM education needs to be a top priority, and the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest engages teachers and their students in real-world issues.

“At Samsung, we believe that community-based learning can be a powerful tool for getting kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and we’re excited to see so many teachers who thought hard about how to apply STEM to local problems,” said David Steel, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics North America. “We congratulate this year’s state finalists, and all of the Solve for Tomorrow entrants, on their ideas to help improve their communities while engaging the leaders of tomorrow.”

Last school year, Irmo High School teacher Peter Lauzon was named the state winner. At Irmo Middle School, excitement about Hilton’s proposal and 2014 state finalist designation already has begun.

Principal Robert Jackson said, “Each day, we challenge all teachers and students to apply the content of their learning to real-world, unpredictable situations. This is yet another example of our teachers engaging in deeper learning and connecting our students learning to relevant ‘real-world’ problems. We are so proud of Mrs. Hilton and her students for having wonderful ideas and engaging in a competition that deepens their learning.”


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