More than 300 freshmen at Edison High School competed last week with projects that represented 41 different countries and cultures.
The theme of the ninth annual competition was “We are What We Leave Behind,” said social studies teacher Joshua Bammer, who leads the event with freshmen geography students each year.
“The goal was project-based learning and to teach the kids about competition,” Bammer said. “Each country has its own social problems or issues that can be solved.”
The students could include information about an area’s music, food, festivals, history, geography and noteworthy structures.
Presentations included cultural dances, a Vietnam display with water running through it, a representation of Italy with a proposed water filtration system and turbines on small homes in Africa.
A team representing Jamaica took home the top recognition for a presentation of Jamaican culture: reggae music, traditional dance, costumes and Jamaican jerk chicken with side dishes like plantain bread.
“It wasn’t about winning,” Danielle Solorzano, a student on the Jamaican team, wrote in an email. “It was about learning about a foreign nation [and] making our program and Mr. Bammer proud.”
Bammer said the event allows students to think of problems outside their own.
“It’s a challenge to try to solve a problem, not just in Huntington Beach or at Edison, but a world problem,” he said. “They can actually wrap their head around that and know they don’t just live in a bubble. There are really major issues out there. They really dug deep and tried to solve it in front of the judges.”