Five schools in Montana have been named state finalists in the Samsung 'Solve for Tomorrow' contest, a nationwide competition challenging students to creatively use S.T.E.M: science, technology, engineering, and math.

The Green Team club is more than just a club, according to a science teacher at Red Lodge High School, Kate Belinda. She said they work on recycling, installing solar panels for the school, and working on making the environment "green", especially within their community.

''The Green Team has been in existence for about 7 years," Belinda said. "Started with about 4 members. We have now since become a mighty power of 20."

Ava Graham is a club member who said her older sister influenced her to join the club when she was just a freshman.

"I enjoy the Green Team because it's really an involved group of students who all really want to make an impact. Not only in this school, but also in the community and it's really gratifying to be able to do work that you feel has real world implications," Graham said.

Mrs. Belinda said she has applied to compete in the Samsung 'Solve for Tomorrow' contest for the past three years. Each time, never surpassing the state finalist level. This year, the science teacher hopes it'll be different.

"We really want to figure out something to do with those plastics rather than throwing them into the trash," Belinda said. "So our challenge is going to be to design, utilizing S.T.E.M, a device that will actually grind up our plastics so that we can store them until we can find a recycler that will take our plastics."

Anna Dye is another club member who explained the plan further.

"We're also looking at the chemical composition of plastic and how we can use other ways of breaking it down. Such as bacteria or fungus or we're even looking at some research for different light waves."

The contest satisfies this club's hunger for helping the environment, specifically around their community in town. All club members have voluntarily participated to compete in this contest. Something Mrs. Belinda said she's proud of.

"It really allows Red Lodge to showcase the amazing students that we have and their desire to make a change," Belinda said. "I am merely somebody that helps direct. It's all about the kids. These kids are really concerned about what it looks like and what the future holds and so their trying to make a difference and so from students all the way up to our older community members, we care about what's going on to our Earth and it's time to mother her."

If the Green Team club wins state, 40 of the 50 finalists will be elegible to receive a $20,000 Samsung technology package including a Samsung video kit to produce their video. The other 10 will progress as a national finalist.

Club members said winning is great, but the impact their project will have on the community, if it succeeds, will be better than anything else.

KULR-8 Reporter

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