Caddo Hills teacher, Will Squires, returned from the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest with 35,000.00 for new technology after making it to the nationals of the competition in New York. The purpose of the contest was to use STEM to solve real world problems. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The goal of the contest was to get students interested in STEM education. STEM education programs are designed to further the learning of these areas in American classrooms.
Caddo’s project was an early warning system that could prevent flood disasters at campgrounds like what befell Albert Pike a few years ago. The project met great support from survivors of that tragedy. Candice Smith McCoy and Kerri Basinger Schelling, survivors who lost family during the Albert Pike flood attended a support rally at Caddo Hills for Mr. Squires and his students. “Words cannot express how grateful Candice and I are for this life saving project you are working on. We have prayed for this for the last five years for a warning system to be put in place at Albert Pike to prevent any other families from going through a tragedy as we have,” Kerri Basinger Schelling said.
Squires was touched by the support from the survivors and community. “It was very humbling that people that lost everything would come and relive that experience in front of a room full of people. Words can’t really describe the emotion that came out of their visit. It allowed students to see the importance of their work and that what they were doing really did matter.”
“It felt great to see students from a small school make it to the final 15 from across the nation,” Squires said. “I hope that students see that anyone can come up with a great idea. That if students want to succeed then STEM is a way for them to get out and see the world while being paid to do something you enjoy and love. That science isn’t a list of facts, but a tool for discovering the unknown and a tool that anyone can use to help their community, they just need to see a problem and use STEM to find a way to solve that problem.”
Students Hunter Milam and David Graves travelled to New York with Mr. Squires.
“Traveling to NY was amazing,” Squires said, “it was so cool to see the place where many of our ancestors may have first stepped off the boat before traveling west to reach their dreams. It was much better than I thought it would be and I would go back in a second if I had the chance.”
Hunter Milam said, “New York was an amazing experience. I had a great time.”