Dunbar High School Students Earn State STEM Awards

Dunbar High School Students Earn State STEM Awards
Posted on 12/21/2022
Dunbar High School Students Earn State STEM Awards

The School District of Lee County is proud to announce that Dunbar High School has its 30th Certiport® Microsoft Office Specialist Florida State Champion. Brian Velazquez received an exceptionally high score on his Microsoft PowerPoint 2019 exam and was among the top scoring candidates in Florida. Based on his accomplishment, he qualified for the 2023 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship

“We have the winning formula for success,” said Dunbar High School Principal Carl Burnside. “Provide students with advanced STEM curriculum paired with high level competitions and that just motivates our students to want to be the top performers in the country.”

Velazquez is invited to represent Florida and compete in the 2023 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship in Orlando on June 26th - 28th, 2023. The first-place winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship, trophy, certificate, and an all-expenses-paid invitation to compete at the 2023 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Orlando at the end of July.

Since Dunbar began competing in 2011, the high school has the rare distinction of producing three Microsoft World Champions and seven Microsoft National Champions.

Dunbar High School has also been named one of 300 State Finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, receiving a $2,500 prize package. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a national competition that challenges U.S. public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities.

“When we heard the news, we were ecstatic— we literally started jumping and cheering in physics,” relayed one team member. “We’re so grateful to be given this amazing opportunity and hope to advance to the next round!”

The project by IB STEM Students’ Jaansi Parsa, Advaith Menon, and Andrew Chuang Saladin focuses on a sustainable way to promote individuals to be more mindful of the choices they make when deciding on modes of transportation. Their idea is to create a gamified navigation mobile app that provides some kind of incentives to use greener transportation alternatives when possible.

“It is no surprise that these three students are finalists for an opportunity of this caliber,” Principal Burnside said. “All three have competed and won acclaim on the national and global level in a variety of other STEM related competitions.”

Denise Spence, teacher mentor for the project added, “Their individual talents to make this project a reality will be complimented by their unwavering drive and determination to succeed.”

In the next phase of the competition, the teachers and students at each of the State Finalist schools will be asked to submit an action plan detailing how their proposed STEM project will address the identified community issue. 50 State Winners will advance to the next phase of the competition and receive $20,000 in technology and supplies, as well as a video kit to help document their project in action. One of the 50 State Winners will be chosen for the Sustainability Innovation Award, receiving an additional $50,000 prize package of eco-conscious classroom technology.

The full list of 300 State Finalists can be found at https://www.samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow/