Bow High School students receive national recognition for online app that helps community

Last modified: 3/5/2015 12:25:07 AM
In the forest near Woodhill Hooksett Road in Bow, two tires and some scrap metal were dumped. Not far away, a pile of bottles and cans was found and household items were scattered nearby.

This waste – and other similar dump sites – were located, digitally tracked and reported or cleaned in December, all by a group of freshmen at Bow High School.

“The key to this whole thing is at some point in your life when you figure out that there are problems out there, you have to take action,” said Bow High teacher Marcel Duhaime yesterday.

In September, Duhaime’s ninth-grade engineering class began that action by creating an online app to track dump sites around town.

“There are several town forests where people like to go to hike, camp, explore. But some people illegally dump trash in our woods,” the students said in a video about the project. “And it’s time we take action.”

Bow High freshmen are required to work on innovative projects focusing on engineering or social innovation. The app is a STEM-related community project that allows anyone who finds improperly discarded waste to tag it on a digital map of Bow, making community cleanup more efficient.

The project, “Bow Dump Sites,” has received positive feedback not only from the school, but also locally and nationally.

The student project has been named one of the top 15 finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, a national competition that “encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”

“Anyone can solve problems. Anyone can answer questions. Anyone can make decisions,” students said in a video about the project. “All it takes is action.”

Representatives from Samsung visited Bow High yesterday to congratulate Duhaime and the students on their project. Two teachers and two students will be traveling to New York City on March 18, where they will pitch their project at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in hopes of becoming a national winner in the contest.

Bow High’s group, which is the New Hampshire winner, has already won $35,000 worth of technology. If Bow Dump Sites is selected as one of the top five winners in the country at the end of this month, the school could win a total of $120,000 in technology. Of the five winners, three will be selected by a panel, one will be selected by Samsung employees and one will be selected by public online voting at samsung.com. Voting is open until March 25.

Students Joseph Milano and Sawyer Duhaime, Marcel Duhaime’s son, will represent the project in New York in two weeks.

The app has only been live since around Christmastime. But once students – and members of the public – begin using it more this spring, students can use the app to study the locations of dump sites and track any patterns in town.

Although it only focuses on Bow, the app, which uses GPS technology to track the dump sites, could be adapted for other towns to use.

“We’re going to expand our scope and go all over the place,” Duhaime said.

At the end of the students’ informational video, the group suggests contacting Bow Open Spaces to report a dump site or coordinate a cleanup at bowopenspaces.com. The Bow Dump Sites app can be found on the school’s website at bownet.org.



(Susan Doucet can be reached at 369-3309, sdoucet@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @susan_doucet.)


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