03.22.18 / Education

A Teacher’s Lesson on ‘Never Giving Up’

I have been the advisor for Noble High School’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow team for three years, starting in 2015. Every year that we have participated in this competition we have been named state finalists, but this is the first year we were named one of the top 10 national finalist teams. We are so honored and we’re going to try to take home one of the grand prizes.

As such, my experience with this competition has impressed upon me the importance of never giving up.

I choose to be a teacher because the career provides one of the most efficient ways to make a difference in students’ lives and have an impact on our community.

This year, as part of the contest, my students developed a water filtration system that directly improves the water quality in our community and makes our water safe to drink.

The reason I’ve encouraged my students to participate in Solve for Tomorrow every year is because it’s a great motivational opportunity for them to apply their classroom learnings in science and technology towards solving a real world problem.

I’m so proud to say that’s exactly what they have done this year.

My students’ filtration system removes elevated levels of manganese found in our local water supply. This has been a problem in our town for the past two years. They tested their system with the local water treatment authorities and found that it not only works, but it will also save the town of Berwick a lot of money in water treatment costs. It has also helped protect our local youth, especially children under the age of two, from the potential side effects of having manganese in our water.

Students of Noble High School’s Solve for Tomorrow team collaborate with local water treatment authorities to test their water filtration system for eliminating manganese from the local water supply.
Yuhong Sun (far right) pictured with her students that participated in the 2017-18 Solve for Tomorrow contest.

Apart from clean water, this competition has also had a profound impact on both my students and myself.

Solve For Tomorrow has helped to build my students’ confidence. When they made a good decision and found the most effective way to beat manganese through using a sulfate solution, they realized their own value. This project also helped develop their critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills as they worked with parents, teachers, professionals, and their peers. Those skills are crucial for preparing them for the 21st century workforce where success requires teamwork.

As for myself, I have grown professionally over the last few years from being involved with Solve for Tomorrow. I’ve learned how to best optimize for each student’s strengths and expertise, and help them utilize each team member to the best of their ability. I’ve watched them all grow so much over the past year and nothing has made me happier than to see them achieve progress academically and socially.

I want to thank Samsung for providing us with such a great opportunity through Solve for Tomorrow. The experience has shown our students that their science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) knowledge and skills can make a difference.

Their determination and good example in North Berwick will serve them well after they graduate and pave the way for their future careers and success.

To find out more about 2018 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national finalist teams, please visit smsng.news/SFT2018Top10.

About the contributor:

Yuhong Sun is a computer teacher and Chinese language teacher at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine. She teaches both subjects because, she says,both directly prepare students for the 21st century job market. As a national finalist team, the group has already won $50,000 in Samsung Technology for their school and will compete for 1 of 3 grand prizes of $150,000 in technology for their school.

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