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Eighth Graders Finalists in Samsung Competition Worth $140,000

March 6, 2014, 5:07 PM by Hailey Higgins

Eighth Graders Finalists in Samsung Competition Worth $140,000

After beating out thousands of other schools, some Vermillion 8th graders are finalists in a national competition that could earn them $140,000 worth of technology from Samsung.

This documentary, put together by Madelyn Zevecke, Brooklyn Kirsh, Shelby Brady and several of their classmates, is the result of months of hard work for the Solve For Tomorrow contest.

"A lot of us are "river rats" and we are always on the river and it's kind of like a lot of people's home," Brooklyn Kirsh said.

The video shows the Vermillion Middle School students learning from experts about one of the largest threats to the Missouri River.

Six students went on the river and caught an Asian carp with the Game Fish and Parks Department.  The students soon came up with ways to combat the one of South Dakota's growing problems.

"We've put in so many hours," Shelby Brady said. "I don't know how many times we've been here on Saturday and Sunday."

"They are a big problem and I love the river," Madelyn Zevecke said. "I love to go fishing and stuff like that and now if I continue, I probably wouldn't be able to."

Some members of the group presented the documentary in Austin, Texas earlier this week and were thrilled to be chosen as finalists.

"I am pretty sure I was the only one who screamed and jumped up and down, I guess," Kirsh said. "I was really happy."

"I never thought we would make it this far," Brady said. "It was just wow."

And while the initial goal of the project was to win the technology, now it's moved to a bigger purpose.

"I think initially that was my motivation," Eighth Grade teacher Natasha Gault said. "As soon as we recognized this as a serious issue then it hasn't been about that for probably at least a month."

The group has come up with a "Lewis and Carp" Day to raise awareness.

The students need your help: the documentary with the most online votes wins and there are just eight days left. Click here to vote.

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