NEW YORK — Jubilant Ashland middle schoolers hit the streets of New York Wednesday morning to celebrate winning a six-figure prize package in a technology competition.
“We’re just all standing in Times Square. We’re all really excited. We’re jumping up and down and texting all our friends. We’re overwhelmed with excitement,” said seventh-grader Aubree Hay after learning her team of student technology enthusiasts had copped one of three top prizes in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.
The prize is $150,000 worth of high-tech hardware and software for Ashland Middle School, where Aubree and her teammates developed an innovative device for first responders to use in safely handling improperly discarded syringes.
Following a months-long research and development process and multiple presentations, the big win was revealed on the nationally broadcast “Good Morning America” TV show.
The team, made up of members of the Student Technology Leadership Program and others enrolled in a 3-D design and modeling class, already had won intermediate prizes at the state and semi-finalist level, but scratching their way to the top of the heap ramped up the excitement considerably. “Especially for a little school like Ashland Middle School, it’s a lot of recognition,” Aubree said by phone outside the Good Morning America studio at the corner of 44th Street and Broadway.
She and two other team members had presented their project on Monday to a panel of judges. They were up against teams from nine other schools from around the country, teams of kids just as bright, motivated and competitive as they were.
“They were some pretty good competitors. We thought we did good and that was all we could hope for,” said Caleb Campbell, an eighth-grader and one of the three who pitched their project to a panel of judges.