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Valley Middle School Student Selected as “Name the Rover” Semifinalist

News Release                                                  

For Immediate Release                                                                

January 16, 2019

Valley Middle School Student Selected as “Name the Rover” Semifinalist

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Gabbi Cormier, an 8th grade student at Valley Middle School, has been selected as a semifinalist in the nationwide Mars 2020 “Name the Rover” essay contest.

Students across the United States were invited to enter the contest, and 52 semifinalists per grade level group (kindergarten-4th grades, 5th-8th grades, 9th-12th grades) were selected.

Cormier selected the name Cueillir for the Mars 2020 rover.

“In French, cueillir means ‘gatherer.’ The term gatherer means one who collects information in an effort to better understand complicated things. This is exactly what the rover will be doing at the beginning of July 2020,” said Cormier. “Scientists have four main goals, which include gathering evidence of possible previous life, evidence of current climate, soil samples to prove if life can exist, and experiments dealing with the effectiveness of natural resources in the Martian environment.”

Three finalists per grade level group will be announced on January 21 and will advance to the final round of judging, which includes a public vote. NASA plans to announce the selected rover name on February 18, exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars. The winner of the “Name the Rover” contest will win a trip with up to four family members to see the Mars 2020 rover launch.

“We are most proud of Gabbi and her accomplishments thus far,” said Todd Selk, principal at Valley Middle School. “She is creative, curious, and enthusiastic about her learning. On top of that, Gabbi is a wonderful young person, representing herself and our school with the highest integrity.”

The Mars 2020 rover is a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds. It will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for a future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA, Future Engineers, of Burbank, Calif., and Battelle Education, of Columbus, Ohio.

For contest and prize details, visit