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AMS receives third state Samsung title

Ashland Middle School Named a Kentucky State Winner
in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest  


About the Contest:

Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, Ashland Middle School in Ashland has been named a Kentucky state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for its proposed project called “No Child Left Behind.” Students plan to address “shelter in place” emergency evacuation procedures in multilevel structures.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Ashland Middle School is among the nation’s 100 state winners and will receive $15,000 in technology for its achievement.

“The scale and importance of the issues addressed in this year’s contest reflect how students are taking responsibility for their role as change agents for the future,” said Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “These state winners and trailblazing teachers and students are taking action to create tangible solutions and promote positive change. Samsung is proud to support their vision for a brighter future and looks forward to seeing how they will use imagination and creativity with complex technologies such as VR and 3D printing to bring these projects to life.”  

About the School:

Kentucky State Winner and Details:

  • Ashland Middle School in Ashland, Kentucky
  • Teacher John Leistner, and his 7th and 8th grade students

About the School’s Project:

Local Problem: In the event of a fire emergency, mobility impaired individuals in multi-level structures are asked to “shelter in place.” This requires students to sit in a room and wait for first responders to rescue them. Furthermore, this population of students fluctuates throughout the school year as new injuries occur and old injuries heal. Since this list is not static, students in need of assistance must be identified and located after the emergency situation has occurred.

Proposed Project: To address these issues, our students are first creating an app that will track mobility impaired students and easily identify their location at any time. In the event of an emergency, the teachers responsible for these students at that time will verify their location and communicate their safe removal from the building within the app. Additionally, students are creating a physical prototype that can facilitate the quick and easy extraction of these students without waiting for first responders. By identifying and removing these students as quickly as possible, we can ensure that no students are ever left behind again.

Future Contest Phases:

All 100 state winners will work on their projects and submit their three-minute video in hopes of advancing in the contest’s remaining phases:

  • National finalists: 20 national finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event in the spring where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, 15 schools will receive a $50,000* Samsung technology package. The other 5 will progress to the national winner stage.
  • National grand prize winners: 5 national winners will be selected, and each will receive a $100,000* Samsung technology package
  • Community Choice Award: The general public will elect one winner from the 20 national finalists who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 Samsung technology package

Interview Opportunities:

John Leistner and his students are available for interviews about the local issue they’re working to solve and the importance of hands-on STEM learning.

Media Contact:

For questions about the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, please reach out to For questions about the school’s project, please reach out to   


*Prize is based on an estimated retail value.

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