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Princeton High School wins 2024 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition

(l-r) Princeton High students Sofia Son and Hayah Mian and teacher Jacqueline Katz. (Courtesy of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition)

Princeton High School is one of three schools named national winners in the 14th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Competition.

Student teams across the country took part in the competition that uses AI, 3D printing, and robotics to address community challenges. Each winning school received $100,000 in prizes.

Princeton High School students Mayda Jiguan, Sofia Son, and Hayah Mian were winners for the team’s “Endangered Indigenous Languages” project. The team was guided by teacher Mark Eastburn and the Princeton High research team.

Experts estimate that 50% of the 6,000 languages spoken worldwide are currently at risk of extinction. To safeguard endangered Indigenous languages, Princeton students developed Che’w, an AI-powered, robotic stuffed animal that speaks Mam – a Mayan language spoken in parts of western Guatemala, Mexico, and across the United States. Mam is also spoken by a small population of students at the high school.

With support from Mam speakers in Morristown, the team plans to continue training the platform to understand a wider variety of speakers in a diverse set of contexts. The goal is to eventually market the final product as a patient, engaging conversation partner that can also teach skills in digital literacy.

The students’ approach to language education was recognized for leveraging technology to bridge linguistic gaps and empower Indigenous communities.

You can view a short video about the Princeton High students’ project on YouTube.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 as a way to boost interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM. The education-based citizenship program has become a catalyst for a change in the perception of STEM, a crucial aspect in fostering a skilled future workforce and informed citizens of the modern world. To date, Solve for Tomorrow has awarded more than $27 million in Samsung technology and classroom supplies to 4,000-plus public schools across the United States.

The other two national winners this year were Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where students invented an electronic board game that helps special education students connect with their peers, and Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama, where students developed an affordable alternative for opening doors that fits various door types, enhancing accessibility and inclusion.