And the winner is … St. Mary-St. Cecilia

Local elementary school wins national Samsung contest and a $50,000 prize.

Pictured after the contest win last week were: (back l-r) Blair Fitzsimon, Liam Quesnel, Owen Markell, Payshence Sheldrick, Evelyn McClafferty and Laura Ferguson. In front are: (l-r) Tessa Laurin, Georgia Elliott, Emily Morris and William Millward. Below was the reaction to the announcement.

MORRISBURG – A team of eight St. Mary – St. Cecilia Grade 6 students led by teachers Blair Fitzsimon and Laura Ferguson were always confident about their chances of winning the national Solve for Tomorrow contest and last week they showed everyone that their confidence wasn’t misplaced.

Wednesday, June 5 the science team, who all volunteered to work for hundreds of hours on this contest submission, gathered in the school gymnasium with their classmates and supporters to view the livestream of the contest results.

Nervous tension changed quickly to exuberant celebration once St. Mary – St. Cecilia Catholic School was announced as the contest winner.

After hundreds of entries from coast-to-coast, St. Mary – St. Cecilia Catholic School was recognized by Samsung Canada’s panel of expert judges for their innovative solution to support the everyday shift to sustainable energy sources through a hydrogen generator suitable for residential and commercial use.

“We are thrilled to name St. Mary St. Cecilia Catholic School as the winner of our Solve for Tomorrow Contest. This school demonstrated the innovation, bright ideas, and impressive thinking that has defined this competition for over a decade,” said Jihoon Lee, President, Samsung Electronics Canada. “On behalf of Samsung Canada, we are proud to support the future of STEM learning at St. Mary St. Cecilia and all Canadian schools. Along with all our finalist teams, this school will no doubt make a strong impact on our communities and help build a sustainable future for years to come.”

“The School for Tomorrow” and will take home the grand prize of $50,000 to support STEM learning in classrooms.

“We are so thankful to Samsung Canada and judges for choosing SMSC Energizers hydrogen generator as the winning team,” said Laura Ferguson and Blair Fitzsimon, educators at St. Mary-St. Cecilia Catholic School. “Winning means that we can create and build more sustainable projects at our school for all students to enjoy!”

This $50,000 prize package is in addition to the $5,000 that the group was already awarded for being a finalist.

The SMSC team was composed entirely of Grade 6 students – the youngest group eligible to participate in the contest which welcomed entries from Grades 6 to 12.

“I’m very proud of the kids and the staff for all their hard work,” said SMSC school principal Erin Merkley.

“The kids did incredibly well,” said Fitzsimon. “Our strategy was to learn by trying, to work with experts and use the scientific method, all while encouraging creativity. That’s what led to our incredible invention and ultimate win.”

Regarding the prize money, Fitzsimon said: “With these funds we can continue to advance the idea and purchase technology to allow SMSC students to be creative while expressing themselves and making discoveries. While the journey of this competition has ended, this win will just lead to another beginning.”

“We always hoped all the hard work would pay off,” said Ferguson. “To be recognized as the winner is just amazing. We tried all along to work towards the win, but it was still shocking to get that confirmation that all our blood, sweat and tears paid off.”

“I think with winning first place it has finally hit the kids that they’ve done something amazing,” added Ferguson. “This has been the most amazing experience of my career. It’s been a lot of fun. I like challenges.”

With the money won, Ferguson explained that the hope is that to can bring more STEM opportunities to the school.

“With that increased level of STEM education, the kids are already looking forward to next year,” she said. Over the summer they will work towards creating a wish list of what they want to do with the money. “We want the kids involved so we have asked them to think about what they want to see for SMSC.”

In addition to the winning school team, Samsung Canada also announced the second and third place winners, along with the Solve for Tomorrow Fan Favourite, who are chosen by the public.

Second Place went to Lincoln Alexander Public School in Ajax for an innovative water treatment filter technology solution to solve the lack of access to clean drinking water affecting rural and Indigenous communities.

Third Place and Fan Favourite Award Recipient was St. Peter High School in Ottawa for their ‘smart’ garden living classroom which aims to drive environmental stewardship at their school and build interest in sustainable food practices.

Samsung Canada is committed to empowering future generations to achieve their full potential, and build a brighter tomorrow for our communities across Canada. For over a decade, Samsung has celebrated youth innovation for positive social change through the Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

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