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News Release: Westwood Named One of Four National Winners of Samsung Canada's Solve for Tomorrow Challenge

(Fort McMurray, AB, June 14, 2018) Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) congratulates Westwood Community High School’s Green Initiative (GI) Club on winning Samsung Canada’s Solve for Tomorrow Challenge for the Western Region. The club is one of four groups to win the national award, which comes with a $20,000 grant. The announcement was made on June 12.

“Solve for Tomorrow Challenge (is) a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based education initiative that seeks to ignite student passion in these subjects.”

Westwood’s GI is an after-school club. Their entry was about highlighting an opportunity to increase community awareness around energy technology. Students plan to hold weekend STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) camps focusing on alternative energy challenges and tech learning. These will be targeted for grades 4 to 9, and open to any school in Fort McMurray over the next few years.

“Kids would play with mini solar panels, sensors, power meters, circuits, wind turbines, tablets, virtual reality and other technology. With the global push towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a growing need for alternative energy, students saw this as a real challenge to solve in an oil sands community,” explains Johnny Dulku, adviser Green Initiative, and Science Teacher at the school.

"Green Initiative Club students are some of the brightest people I know and really do step up to solve our world's problems, one challenge at a time. Thank you Samsung Canada for this tremendous opportunity,” Dulku added.

Green Initiative has been at Westwood for six years now. There are currently 16 students in the club. And, they were delighted with the news.

Farah Sadek, a grade 11 student was pleasantly surprised by the win.

"I couldn't believe it when I first heard it. It will honestly be a memory I'll never forget. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow was an opportunity I never thought I could participate in. Our Green Initiative team is able to solve an issue really near and dear to our Fort McMurray community and the globe as a whole. We get to do something that really makes a difference and inspire youth for a better future.”

Jeremy Christopherson, also in grade 11 echoes similar sentiments.

“The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Challenge has provided an amazing opportunity to highlight our school and our community, and the generous grant strengthens our efforts to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability throughout the region. We are looking forward to providing educational opportunities for youth in our community with hands-on learning about emerging alternative energy technologies, and encouraging new leaders in environmental sustainability."

Cynthia Shelley, Principal, Westwood Community High School, was delighted with the news. 

“Green Initiative has given students the opportunity to learn and grow in their interests surrounding environmental pursuits. Over the years, they have put together several groundbreaking environmental initiatives, such as: our greenhouse, a solar energy water filling station, and most recently, a net-zero aquaponics system,” noted Shelley.

“We are very proud of them for their initiative to contribute to a better tomorrow by hosting STEM camps surrounding alternative energy for students as young as grade four.

This is another example of what can happen when passionate teachers and passionate students come together; it builds leadership within our students and the impact on our community is inspiring,” she added.

Doug Nicholls, Superintendent, FMPSD, congratulated the club.

“These back to back awards for environmental stewardship, and applying STEM to curriculum speaks to the high calibre of an FMPSD education. Congratulations to the students, and Mr. Dulku for acting locally, and thinking globally. And, for your diligence in making Fort McMurray, and the world, environmentally better for all. We are proud of you.”

Video entry for the project can be seen here.

Congratulations everyone!

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager

Fort McMurray Public School District #2833

Cell: 780-880-7666

Work: 780-788-8009

kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca