San Mateo County, CA — The San Mateo County Office of Education announced today 21 winning projects entered in its first annual Solutionary Fair, which showcased student solutions to local and global problems.

Nearly 100 students from 20 schools explored a variety of environmental, social, economic, political, and technological challenges in their community, such as pollution, gentrification, learning loss, and the digital divide. They then developed or pursued projects to address these challenges. Some of the solutions presented in this year’s fair included creating educational videos and challenges to reduce plastic use, designing curriculum to teach students about inequitable housing policies, tutoring students who need extra support, and donating refurbished devices to senior citizens. Each project was aligned with one of California's fifteen Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways to help students connect their interests and studies to possible professions.

A total of 66 projects were submitted, with some students working in teams. Overall, the experience helped participants develop key skills, deepen their connection to their community, and prepare for college and careers while pursuing a topic of interest. Many felt the fair was a fun, interactive, and engaging challenge where they learned about themselves, their strengths and passions, and their ability to create a lasting impact in their community.

The County Office of Education provided awards funded by the Institute for Humane Education and the Broadcom Foundation for ten first-place projects, ten second-place projects, and one "Best in Show” project:

Best in Show Award

  • Mia Arruda (Eleventh Grade, Design Tech High School)

First Place Awards

  • Stephen Yan-Zhao (Third Grade, Serendipity Elementary)
  • Alison Li, Ellie K., and Ava B. (Fourth Grade, Carey School)
  • Los Robles Cardboard Crew – Alisson Molina, Audier Acosta, Josh Cabrera, Maria Diez, Angel Alemen, Alexander Carrillo, and Emiliano Cardenas (Fourth Grade, Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy)
  • Isabella Porten (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Travis Meadow Long (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Esme Hanlon (Sixth Grade, Ocean Shore School)
  • Sophie Blank and Katherine Timons (Sixth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Wing (Nicole) Tsang (Eleventh Grade, Westmoor High School)
  • Matthew Cerza and Michael McCulloch (Twelfth Grade, Junipero Serra High School and Design Tech High School)
  • Jonathan Carranza, Alondra Concha, Rosa Cortez, Armando Jaimes, James Mitchell, and Dabid Florez Rodriguez (Twelfth Grade, East Palo Alto Academy)

Second Place Awards

  • Avi Hudson Buxbaum (Third Grade, Las Lomitas Elementary School)
  • Kailee Ishida (Fourth Grade, Carey School)
  • Alexa Hengehold (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Kai Cena (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Phoebe Chen (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Ryder Shaw (Fifth Grade, Woodside Elementary School)
  • Maile Fastidio (Sixth Grade, Cabrillo Elementary School)
  • Christine Zhao, Katherine Tsvirkunova, Payton Zolck, and Isabelle Chiang (Ninth Grade, The Nueva School, Crystal Springs Uplands School, Carlmont High School)
  • Emily Duncan, Caroline Lim, Olivia Murray, Roisin Scallon (Ninth and Tenth Grade, Hillsdale High School)
  • Ava Nielson, Chloe Montgomery, Kate O’Toole, and Maia Tu (Ninth and Eleventh Grade, Woodside High School)

After a successful first year, the County Office of Education looks forward to engaging all schools and districts in future years. Learn more about the Solutionary Fair and the 2021 winning projects on the County Office of Education’s website.