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The middle schoolers are working to improve traffic flow for first responders

COURTESY PHOTO: CLEAR CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL  - Students in Tom Erickson's science class celebrate their success in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow invention contest. Students at Clear Creek Middle School have triumphed again in a big Samsung invention contest, nabbing a state level prize worth $15,000 and moving on to the next level in the prestigious nationwide contest.

The Clear Creek students are working on systems that would better alert traffic in multiple directions when first responders are speeding toward emergencies.

"Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, Clear Creek Middle School in Gresham has been named an Oregon State Winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for its proposed plan to address traffic safety," Samsung's announcement said.

"The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)," Samsung said in announcing Clear Creek's Oregon win.

"That's three for four," said Clear Creek Principal David Atherton in an email.

Clear Creek science teacher Tom Erickson has led his students to recognition in the Samsung contest three of the last four years.

Erickson has been a science teacher at Clear Creek for four years and previously taught science at Dexter McCarty Middle School for over 20 years. Both are in the Gresham-Barlow School District.

Atherton estimates Erickson has brought in prizes worth about $70,000 to the school through Samsung Solve For Tomorrow. He also has received a number of grants and awards from other groups.

Last year Erickson's students did not soar in the contest, but their idea for a mobile STEM bus was taken up by the Gresham-Barlow School District. A STEM bus is being outfitted with technology and will start making the rounds of Gresham-Barlow schools later this year.

Clear Creek was among 100 state-level winners nationwide. The other Oregon winner is Sisters Middle School led by Jeff Schiedler.

Clear Creek will receive a Samsung video kit to create and submit a three-minute video that showcases its project development and how it addresses the problem identified. The video will be used for the chance to advance to the next phase of the contest and win additional prizes and educational opportunities, Samsung said in the announcement.

"Samsung is extremely proud of the evolution of the Solve for Tomorrow platform over the past 10 years: fueling students' passion and curiosity to tackle issues that affect their communities in unexpected and creative ways," said Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America.

This is the 10th year of the competition, which is open to classrooms of sixth through 12th graders.


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