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Contact:  Barbara Hamm Lee, 757.889.9437


Isle of Wight student wins in Written Game Design category

NORFOLK:  WHRO announced today that Kirk Lindsay, a 14-year old 8th grade student at Smithfield Middle School in Isle of Wight County, won one of the awards in the National STEM Video Game Challenge, a competition to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by learning, playing and making video games from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-line Media.

Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.

The 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge is launched in partnership with Digital Promise, a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the Department of Education. The initiative is designed to unlock the promise of breakthrough technologies to transform teaching and learning.

The 2012 winners were announced on May 22nd at The Atlantic’s Technologies in Education Forum in Washington, DC.   Twenty-eight middle school and high school students from across the U.S. were selected as winners for their original game designs.  Lindsay participated in a STEM Game Development training held by WHRO in January at Norfolk State University, in connection with the university’s and the Broad Creek Digital Inclusion Community Advisory Community TechFest.  WHRO received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that enabled it to hold the competition, which attracted nearly 200 students from across Hampton Roads.

Lindsay’s entry, “Dr. Phy in the Six Kingdoms of Life”, took the top prize in the written game category.  Lindsay is in the SEARCH program for gifted learners.  His father, Mike, is currently serving active duty in the US Coast Guard in Yorktown, VA.  His mother, a native Virginian from Smithfield, is a part-time pediatric nurse.  Lindsay has an older sister, Chelsea, who is studying at Elon University, and a younger brother, Alexander, a student at Westside Elementary.

Lindsay won a laptop computer loaded with game development software and a $2,000 cash prize for his school or the non-profit organization of his choice.  The awards were made possible by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media.

Upon receiving his prizes, Kirk Lindsay said, “It’s not so bad being a computer nerd.” 
“WHRO is incredibly proud that one of our student trainings resulted in a national winner,” said Bert Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer.  “Education is such a large part of our mission, and we’re especially interested in programs that inspire kids to pursue science, technology, engineering and math.”

“Isle of Wight is one of our 18 local school division owners,” said Brian Callahan, the station’s Chief Education Officer and head of Thinkplex, WHRO’s educational arm.  “So the honor goes to them as well.  Our heartiest congratulations to the Lindsay family and to Isle of Wight Public Schools.”

About WHRO
WHRO is a regional media company that promotes education, culture and citizenship to the citizens of Hampton Roads, Virginia through a variety of services.  Every day, thousands of viewers and listeners tune in to broadcast programming on WHRO’s four public television and eight public radio stations.  Since its founding in 1961 to support education, WHRO has employed creativity and technology to serve its mission to enrich audiences through content that educates, entertains and promotes understanding. Owned by 18 local school divisions, WHRO delivers educational and new media services to 286,000 students and 25,000 educators per month as well.