Students use contest to help make bus rides safer

LAUREL, Miss (WHLT) – A group of students at South Jones Elementary school are using a national contest to make a difference.This group of sixth graders have big plans to make bus riding safer.

Gifted teacher Melody Hicks entered her group of students into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest; they had to find a community issue and fix it.
The problem, student safety while crossing the street in front of a school bus.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest is geared towards encouraging students and teachers to solve issues in their community using STEM, science, technology, engineering and math. One winner from each state was chosen from more than 4,100 applicants.

South Jones Elementary is one of fifty-one schools in the United States left in the competition and these students are working hard to come up with a solution.

Hicks said they chose this task because it’s an issue that hits close to home,”Nathan Key was a boy in our county that got run over by a car that illegally passed a bus. Recently, about three months ago another student got hit in Moselle by a passing car so we just thought this was a problem we could help solve.”

Cathy Golobay has been driving a bus for 8 years she said loading and unloading are the most dangerous parts of the ride, “They have to wait for me to give a sign which is my thumbs up and I’ve already looked fifteen times in every mirror to make sure nothing is coming behind us.”

Hicks said they want to be proactive rather than reactive. So they’ve narrowed all their ideas down to one. One sixth grade students explains their idea, “It’s the stop sign but it has a sensor on it so if a car comes near the kid, it’ll stop the car.”

Their plan is to develop a bus safety system. A sensor will be attached to the stop arm of the bus so if a car gets too close, an alarm will sound;alerting the driver and child to stop in their tracks.

Now that they’ve chosen a solution an engineer will assist the students in building and testing a model.

After testing the theory, they’ll submit a video of their progress in February. Fifteen national finalists will be chosen to present their solution to a panel of judges in New York and American will be able to vote on their favorite ideas

Five national winners will be chosen and an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

South Jones Elementary has already been the recipient of two Samsung tablets, $20,000 worth of electronics, a laptop,camera and video editing software.

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