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MVHS Poseidon Academy Holds Inaugural Presentation Night

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 10:53 am

On April 16, the Dempsey Holder Safety Center was set up with snacks, rows of chairs awaiting an audience, and tri-fold posters arranged near the walls. The students in the Mar Vista High School Poseidon Academy had been working hard the past couple months to prepare for this day. It was the first annual Presentation Night. Organized by the Poseidon teachers, Mario Olmos, John Ashley, and Audrie and Joshua Hill, this event showcased innovative ideas and projects the students had been working on for the majority of the year.

Near the beginning of the year, the seniors in Audrie Hill’s engineering class were asked to think of problems with our beach. The student’s answers ranged from lack of lighting, to more widespread issues like sewage contamination in the ocean water. From there, the student’s conducted surveys on their peers, IB citizens, and people located in different areas around the country in order to narrow down their ideas to specific problems that could be more easily tackled. For example, one group noticed from their survey that not many people considered sunscreen pollution to be a major problem in our ocean, so they began working on developing a reef-safe sunscreen that they could use to teach others about the harmful effects of sunscreen on coral reefs and other marine organisms. Another group developed plans for a community parking garage near the beach to expand parking availability for tourists. The underclassmen in Mr. Olmos and Mr. Hill’s classes also got involved, presenting the research they’ve been doing in the Sloughs on microbe DNA.

The purpose of holding Presentation Night was to let the students give a brief summary of their projects to the public, in order to get people thinking about the issues we face in Imperial Beach.

Audrie Hill said, “Mario Olmos had the idea for Presentation Night earlier this year. We wanted to showcase all the awesome work our students have done, and we knew we could have a big draw from our community if we organized a professional event.”

The keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Maxwell who gave a speech at the event about his journey from Mar Vista to where he is now.

“Dr. Maxwell is a Mar Vista High School Alumnus who studies animal behavior,” said Audrie Hill. “He has been working with some of our sophomores this year studying microbes in the Sloughs, working on extracting their DNA.”

After the students finished their slideshows, guests were able to walk around the room reviewing the posters the students had created to go along with their projects.

Overall, the event was a great outlet for the Poseidon Academy students to showcase their innovative and forward-thinking projects. It was also a great way to bring the community together, with legislators such as Mayor Serge Dedina, Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre, and Councilman Mark West in attendance. The Mar Vista High staff members in charge plan to continue this event in the future.

“We are excited to carry this tradition over through to next year. We will add more time to see projects before the presentations, and we hope to include more ways for community members to interact with our students during the gallery walk portion of the evening,” said Audrie Hill. “I see this event becoming a focal point of the school year for the Poseidon Academy and look forward to watching it grow.”

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