Mescalero Apache NM State Winner of Samsung Solve for Tomorrow

Nate Raynor plays Rock Paper Sissors at the Teen Science Café Workshop in 2016

The Mescalero Teen Café was a winner of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest. Way to go Teens!

Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, Mescalero Apache School in Mescalero has been named the New Mexico state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for its proposed plan to address Native Elderly Food insecurity.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year classrooms identified issues that are unique to their communities – such as contaminated water, emergency relief in the face of natural disasters, and access to proper food and resources – as well as critical societal issues that are impacting classrooms nationwide, such as the topics of mental health, school shootings, vaping, bullying, homelessness, and veteran care.

Mescalero Apache School is among the nation’s 50 state winners (representing all 50 states) and will receive $20,000* in technology for its achievement. The school will also receive a Samsung video kit to create and submit a three-minute video showcasing their project development and how it addresses the issue in hopes of advancing to the next phase of the contest and win additional prizes and educational opportunities.

“The scale and importance of the issues addressed in this year’s contest reflect how students are taking responsibility for their role as change agents for the future,” said Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “These state winners and trailblazing teachers and students are taking action to create tangible solutions and promote positive change. Samsung is proud to support their vision for a brighter future and looks forward to seeing how they will use imagination and creativity with complex technologies such as VR and 3D printing to bring these projects to life.”

About the School: New Mexico  State Winner and Details:

·       Mescalero Apache School  in Mescalero Apache Reservation

·       Teacher Nate Raynor, and his  9th -12th grade students

About the School’s Project:
  • Local Problem: Food insecurity persists among our Native American  elderly. Today, the underlying causes of or contributors to many of the nutrition-related difficulties that Elders face include frailty and poor health, exacerbating medical conditions, increasing disability, and extended hospital stays.

Proposed Project: By combining Aquaponic and solar power, the goal of  our project is to grow vegetables to feed our elders. The most simple definition of Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.

By using solar panels, our project will not be relating on our school energy source, thus reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Future Contest Phases:All 50 state winners will work on their projects and submit their three-minute video in hopes of advancing in the contest’s remaining phases:

·       National finalists: 10 national finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event in the spring where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, 7 schools will receive a $50,000* Samsung technology package. The other three will progress to the national winner stage

·       National grand prize winners: 3 national winners will be selected, and each will receive a $100,000* Samsung technology package

·       Community Choice Award: The general public will elect one winner from the 10 national finalists who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 Samsung technology package

Interview Opportunities:Mr. Raynor and his students are available for interviews about the local issue they’re working to solve and the importance of hands-on STEM learning.
Media Contact:For questions about the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, please reach out to For questions about the school’s project, please reach out to or (575)464-4431


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