Jennifer Quercioli, Zachary Beer, and Nicole Scotto.

By: Jill Fox

When students skip class, it creates a safety issue for not only them, but the staff who are responsible for their whereabouts. A group of Marjory Stoneman Douglas students believe they may have the solution.

Zachary Beer, a sophomore together with his STEM teammates, Jennifer Quercioli, a sophomore and Nicole Scotto, a junior, are creating an app to act as a virtual means to keep track of students during school hours. The prototype will allow teachers, security and administration to have one localized system to take attendance, monitor students’ locations and therefore ensure their safety. Quercioli believes she will feel safer with their app in place.

Every school in Broward County already has IDs with barcodes in place. The system this team is creating incorporates the students’ information with the barcodes, and the staff can simply scan them with a cell phone.

This project is part of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest – a nationwide competition that challenges students to creatively use STEM skills to address problems in their communities.

Winning gives the idea a chance to become a reality,” said Beer, who explained that once the students get connected with the proper resources, they will be making an actual prototype with the help of Samsung.

Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, this clever trio was named the Florida state winner and will receive a $20,000 Samsung technology package for the school.

In the coming weeks, each of the 50 state winners will work on their projects and submit a video of a more in-depth look at their solution in the hopes of advancing in the contest’s remaining phases. The goal is to become one of three national winners who will each receive a $100,000 Samsung technology package.

Itza Sierra who team teaches the STEM class with fellow science instructor Lori Reich believed this was a perfect contest for this class and these particular students.

“I am beyond excited to be a part of this with these kids. This is the actual product that they’re going to make, and they are taking this idea and making it a reality, and hopefully go further,” said Sierra.

“We want the kids to see that their ideas count, they matter and they have the mental capacity, capability and imagination to actually be able to change something that they’ve experienced and see on an everyday basis,” she said.

Between the new STEM class, an engineering program, a robotics club and many other aspects at the high school, Sierra said that there are many places where they can put additional technology in place. She feels that it would be great to win the grand prize because the money could put MSD programs on a whole new level.

“To have these kids experience this and have them see that they can actually make a difference in high school is something that teachers strive for.”