With only 141 students, Mercer School is the smallest public school in Wisconsin. That didn't keep Ms. Sheri Kopka from entering Samsung's national "Solve for Tomorrow" contest. Teachers across the nation submitted essay responses to Samsung telling how their students can help the environment in their community with science and technology.
"Based on my responses to those, that got us to the top 25 out of 1,400 schools across the country," says Sheri Kopka, science teacher at Mercer School.
Samsung sent Mercer the equipment necessary to make a two-minute video showing their students' efforts. Kopka's science class of 9th and 10th graders worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to capture and tag endangered pine martens. They would assess their numbers and the state of their environment.
"Just being outside and doing research of animals...pretty cool," says 10th grader Tim Wurlitzer.
Tenth grader Nikki Kempf says, "I think things went really well, and I think our video is very good, and it was a lot of fun doing it, too."
They submitted the final video to Samsung and were chosen to be one of 12 finalists. They were awarded $70,000 in Samsung, Adobe, and DirecTV products.
From here, Samsung will choose the four best and award each $100,000, but online votes will determine the Community Choice Winner of $110,000.
The students and community now play the waiting game. They work to rally more votes each day.
"People have to go to Samsung, Solve for Tomorrow, and vote for our video here at Mercer School so that we can try and get that top prize," Kopka says.
Voting is fast and easy, but ends on March 12.
Mercer is the only school selected from the entire Midwest, and they can use your votes.
To vote, visit Solve for Tomorrow . Find the Mercer School video, click "vote" and type in your email address, then click "vote." You will need to register your email address once. Go to your email inbox and confirm the activation by clicking the link. Then submit your vote. You only have to register once, but you can vote once each day through March 12.