The Schoharie Central School District is clinging to a tenuous lead in a contest pitting a dozen school communities nationwide against one another for $100,000 in technology equipment.
Student videos depicting the impact of massive flooding that upended the Schoharie Valley last fall earned $70,000 in hardware and software and elevated the district into a group of 12 finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.
Who ultimately is victorious in the contest depends on how many votes these videos receive from people who log on and cast a vote — which can be done once daily.
The contest drew more than 1,400 entrants nationwide, and finalists include Sutter Middle School in Folsom, Calif., a district of 32 schools and about 18,000 students.
But despite Schoharie having a tiny campus with three connected school buildings and fewer than 1,000 students, friends, teachers and students launched the Schoharie district to the top of the list after about a month of voting. By Thursday, the Schoharie district was holding onto a lead of roughly 4,200 votes.
Schoharie’s effort garnered 82,120 votes, compared to the next contender, Sutter Middle School, with 77,855 votes.
“We are definitely pleasantly surprised,” Schoharie Middle/High School Principal Stacey A. DeLaney said.
The Schoharie district is getting the support of friends inside and outside of the county with a population of about 32,000. De-
Laney said teachers, administrators and students have been networking with colleges and organizations and clubs the students belong to.
“Our own children have gotten into the contagious nature of this, and everyone’s so excited,” DeLaney said. “It’s a great morale booster.”
Dave Holmes, a computer support specialist for the district, said in an email that winning the contest could bring new desktop computers, high-definition video cameras and editing software for the school’s communications program. That gear would go a long way toward helping students publish their own yearbook for the first time next year.
Holmes said he’s eyeing the development of a new computer programming course next year that could make use of Samsung’s Android tablets.
“If we win the people’s choice award, we may even be able to afford to add another laptop cart into the mix,” Holmes said.
People can cast a vote for their favorite video on a special website set up for the contest.
DeLaney said she hopes people will continue to vote to help ensure a win for the district.
“It’s just really tight right now,” she said, “and people need to keep voting,”
Details on voting can be found on the home page of the Schoharie Central School District at www.schoharie.k12.ny.us. The deadline to vote is 11:59 p.m. Monday.