North Pole Middle students design new mail box, a solution to mail theft

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - North Pole Middle School has been named Alaska's state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest. Anna Creamer's class won for a proposed plan to address rural mail theft. Timothy Stovall, Cameron Faro, Waylon Mulligan and Simon Peterson all helped to create an almost indestructible mail box to help prevent mail theft.

"Some people get credit cards in the mail, so if you get your credit card stolen, you could get your identity stolen or if they figure out what your pin is you can get a lot of money gone away,” Stovall said.

Faro describes the mail box as a steel box on a concrete post, which has a small slit on the top for mail, a larger slit underneath that for packages and another opening with padlocks to get the mail out of the box. The inside will also feature cushioning for fragile packages.

Mulligan added that the mail box was also created with Alaska’s winters in mind, as the roof of the mail box will have a triangular shape to prevent snow from weighing down on the box. The students also plan to create a media app that senses when mail is placed in the box, which will then send out an alert to your phone.

Creamer's class competed in this competition last year, taking honors as a state finalist. This year, the students said it's exciting to get even farther. The class brainstormed the mail theft idea with kids who had experienced mail theft for themselves.

As a teacher, Creamer said it's about helping the community, “I really try to make my teaching reach as many kids as possible and these kind of projects where they're able to extend beyond the North Pole community and the Fairbanks community and actually make these national impacts is something that I really enjoy doing in the classroom and this is our second time something like this, so it's just a great opportunity for the kids,” she said.

North Pole Middle School is among the nation's 50 state winners and will receive $20,000 in technology for its achievement. The College of Engineering and Mining at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is also helping Creamer's class on creating the mail box. Creamer said she is also attempting to reach out to the United States Postal Service for input as well. The class would also like to start selling their mail box online when final designs are complete.