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OnPoint Community Credit Union contest has 3 local schools hoping for cash prizes

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Tomorrow Bus was the brainchild of students at Clear Creek Middle School.

It's election season and the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation is urging folks to vote for Clear Creek Middle School in OnPoint Community Credit Union's Community Builder Awards.

Four schools in the OnPoint competition will receive a $2,000 prize, and based on community voting, one school will receive $5,000. Voting closes at noon Thursday, May 7, and the winners will be announced May 12. Vote at:

Clear Creek is in the running for the student-designed Tomorrow Bus. It is a mobile science and engineering lab in a converted school bus.

The Tomorrow Bus visits elementary and middle schools in the Gresham-Barlow district bringing fun, hands-on science lessons. Of course, the Tomorrow Bus is parked while schools have been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, but will be on the road again when restrictions are lifted.

Painted an eye-catching bright blue, the Tomorrow Bus is "designed to bring learning opportunities to students through the integration of advanced technology and old-fashioned creativity," according to the district.

Centennial School District's Meadows Elementary School and its library diversity project also are in the running for an OnPoint prize. Rosemary Anderson High School, which has a campus on Southeast 182nd Avenue, and its distance learning program also are in the competition.

The idea and the name for the Tomorrow Bus came from science, math and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher Tom Erickson and his students at Clear Creek Middle School.

For the past several years, his students have entered the highly competitive Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition. Solve for Tomorrow asks students to find a solution to a real-world problem using STEM disciplines.

Although the Tomorrow Bus didn't win a top award in the competition, Erickson and his students are thrilled their concept became a reality for Gresham-Barlow students.

The Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation, 100+ Women Who Care-East County, McDonald & Wetle, Boeing, Knapheide Manufacturing, First Student Inc., Hollywood Signs and Graphics and Tokola Properties all donated to make the bus a reality. The OnPoint money would be used to outfit the bus with more equipment and curriculum.

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