Irene: Nationwide support helps Schoharie school win $100K prize

The Schoharie Central School District found friends as far away as the West Coast during its cybersp

The Schoharie Central School District found friends as far away as the West Coast during its cyberspace campaign to win $100,000 in technology equipment, and at the end of voting, it appears the campaign was victorious.

The district earned 102,023 votes in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. The next highest vote-getter, Sutter Middle School in California, had 88,496.

But an official winner won’t be announced until Thursday, and school officials are holding their breath.

“We are anxiously, anxiously waiting, and we just can’t thank people enough,” Schoharie Junior/Senior High School Principal Stacey A. DeLaney said Tuesday.

Students made a video depicting the impact of flooding in their hometown that resulted from Tropical Storm Irene and the lessons they learned using science, but the entry was clearly an underdog when the contest started in February, given the district’s relatively small size.

The students’ work elevated the school to a final slate of 12 finalists, and in the process won $70,000 in technology equipment through the contest, which is an effort by the company to deliver $1 million to schools throughout the nation.

All it took for the hard-hit district to win another $100,000 worth of gear was getting enough people to register on the Internet and vote for the school — and it was clear by the end of voting the district found numerous online friends, enough to leave Schoharie with a 13,500-vote lead.

Teachers and students have been calling friends and associates, residents have been contacting those they know in other states, including California, and people responded, DeLaney said.

“It’s been incredibly contagious. This could not have happened without everyone’s help,” she said.

District Superintendent Brian Sherman said in an email that Schoharie can’t claim victory until official results are announced. But school officials are “trying to hold back the energy exhibited by the students and teachers, especially in light of the congratulations that have been coming in,” he said.

Sherman said the help came from what grew into a large community, including supporters from organizations and agencies “all over the country” and especially from New York City.

“The support has had a wonderful effect on the morale of our students, staff and our community and has really helped with the healing process,” Sherman said.

He said he expects to hear from Samsung within a couple of days.

Categories: Schenectady County

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