four students working on prototype

ENLACE students and their teacher Mr. Vargas earned a spot as one of 10 national finalist schools in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition. They will Pitch their idea at the Finals in April, but you can support their project on Facebook as they now compete for "Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Community Choice Winner". Please vote here daily until March 27th. Good Luck ENLACE!

ENLACE project is the Lawrence High School, MA #SamsungSolveLHS

Students meet with Representative Devers

Since learning they were Massachusetts state winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, ENLACE students and their teacher Mr. Vargas have been hard at work researching gas safety and developing their prototype for a new safety valve that could prevent future gas explosions. They meet every week after school to work on their project, and they recently designed, built, and 3D-printed their prototype. Over the past week they have also had the opportunity to meet with various community leaders about their work. State Representative Marcos Devers came to visit the team, learn about their project, and honor them with a formal recognition from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Additionally, two representatives from Columbia Gas visited to discuss gas safety with the students and learn about their project. They were very impressed with the students' prototype and said their design is very similar to a safety device they are planning to start using in the future. Next, the team will be submitting a video of their project to Samsung to compete in the next phase of the national competition. We wish them best of luck!

Screenshot of Mr. Vargas and his students featured on NBC news

Selected from thousands of entries nationwide, ENLACE's Art Teacher, Shaddai Vargas, and his students have been named the Massachusetts state winners in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for their proposed plan to address the causes of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster. 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). Mr. Vargas was inspired to submit a proposal for the contest based on conversations he’d had with his students in the aftermath of the Merrimack Valley Gas Fires. Students had many questions about how something so terrible could happen in their community. As a result of these conversations, Mr. Vargas submitted a proposal to Samsung Solve for Tomorrow designed to help students learn about the causes of the gas explosions in Lawrence, explore chemical properties of natural gas and heating technology safety, and identify solutions to improve natural gas safety in the community. ENLACE is among the nation’s 50 state winners and will receive $20,000 in technology for its achievement and the opportunity to advance to the next phase of the contest and win additional prizes and educational opportunities. Congratulations, Mr. Vargas!

Students dancing

On Thursday, December 20th, the ENLACE community celebrated its 4th annual Storytellers' Café and Holiday Party. Nearly 200 students, families, staff, and community partners came together for a delicious potluck dinner and student showcase. Some students presented their immigration stories, which they had written in ESL class, and others shared their musical talents. The ENLACE Theater Company performed as well as the Salsa Dance Club. It was an evening to remember. Happy Holidays from the ENLACE Community!

Students meeting in the Stronger Juntos club

This year ENLACE will see its first class of students from 2015-16 walk across the stage and graduate from Lawrence High School. As more students have transitioned out of the newcomer academy and into the Lower and Upper Schools, many have come back to share their advice and wisdom with current students. This year Lisaidy Zabala, a former ENLACE student and current junior in the Upper School Academy, has taken this to the next level by starting a new club called Stronger Juntos. She wrote a very compelling proposal to her former principal and teachers about her own experience transitioning out of the newcomer academy and her vision for a mentoring program where she and other former ENLACE students could support peers who are just beginning their high school path.  The after-school program meets weekly and provides tutoring and homework help, student-led presentations about topics such as MCAS, GPA, graduation requirements, SATs, and applying to college, and opportunities to get formal and informal advice from peers who have had similar experiences. The club has now met for several weeks and has members across grades 9-12. We can't wait to see how it grows!