Gilbert Leadership Alumnus, Students Receive Prestigious Samsung Electronics Award

Gilbert Leadership graduate A.J. Alaniz, Class XVI, recently was awarded a prestigious recognition by Samsung Electronics. Because of his experience in Gilbert Leadership, A.J. made career change from commercial truck financing to teaching. He has been teaching since 2008 and has been in the Sacaton Elementary School District since 2016.

The Gilbert Leadership Board wishes to congratulate A.J. Alaniz and his students.

Sacaton Middle School Named Arizona State Winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

About the Contest:

Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, Sacaton Middle School in Sacaton, Arizona has been named the Arizona state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for its proposed plan to address a severe rodent infestation by creating a non-lethal rodent control trap.

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.

Sacaton Middle 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:

Arizona State Winner and Details:

  • Sacaton Middle School in Sacaton, Arizona on the Gila River Indian Community
  • Sacaton Elementary School District #18
  • The only State of Arizona (not BIE) certified school on the Reservation
  • Teacher Alberto Alaniz, and 7th/8th grade students

About the School's Project:

Local Problem: Rodent damage to citrus tree orchard and gardens.

Proposed Project: We propose a non-lethal trap (in keeping with Community ethics) to control rodents in the orchard and gardens. Using 3D printed components that humanely trap these animals.