KoolCumber Hummus and Shushu Lee’s sesame dipping sauce were among the 23 salad dressings, dips and salsas unveiled at the Alexander Batcho Intermediate School’s third annual Dressed for Success competition on June 13.
The school’s eighth-grade students were responsible for presenting a food product centered on one specific ingredient. The students had to market their product as though the community was purchasing it.
The competition mixed bits of science, math, social studies and language arts.
Teams of three to five students presented their final product to school administration and other officials, including school Superintendent Johanna Ruberto and Mayor Angelo Corradino. Accompanying each group’s project was an advertising campaign to help market its product.
The students were required to incorporate advertising techniques they learned in language arts. The students also made brochures with a history of their ingredients and their recipes as well as maps, newsletters with ingredient information and a business plan.
ABIS Principal Michael Magliacano said the project requires the students to take responsibility for their choices because the end result is largely in their hands.
”The students are proud of their projects,” he said.
The students’ pride was evident as they offered samples of their food to guests in the school’s cafeteria. Several of the students dressed up in costumes to accompany their product’s theme. The group behind the “Italian Fresh” tomato sauce wore aprons and black stick-on mustaches.
The students behind the basil-infused salad dressing, “Basil Berry,” created an infomercial for their product. The group said the “possilbasilties” are endless, suggesting basil to battle wrinkles and depression after retirement.
Lindsay Burlew, a member of the group behind Shushu Lee’s sesame dipping sauce, said the project taught her a lot about how to be successful in business. Lindsay said she also learned how to price a product appropriately.
The group had to base their final product around sesame seeds. Shushu Lee’s dipping sauce is a takeoff of sesame chicken, Lindsay explained. The product’s name, translated from Chinese, means Uncle Lee, she said.
Fellow group member Jonathan Ahorrito said they were inspired by the name of the famous Auntie Anne’s pretzel chain.
Lindsay and Jonathan said they chose a Chinese name for their product because research showed China is one of the largest exporters of sesame seeds.
Sean Zujkowski, one of the creators behind KoolCumber humus, said the group wanted to create something that would be would refreshing for the consumer. The group incorporated this goal into their slogan, “Stay Kool with KoolCumber,”
Sean said he’s always been interested in advertising, and this project allowed him to explore his interest.
Superintendent Ruberto described the cross-curriculum projects as “on target, current and relevant.”
Ms. Ruberto said the projects expose the students to “problem-based” learning and offer a change from traditional learning methods.
Lauren Kurzius, an eighth-grade teacher, said the projects are a “real-life application of knowledge.” She said, considering all the small businesses in Manville, this experience could be a jumpstart for many of the students.
In addition to working toward a good grade, the students also were competing for six group titles, including best taste and best overall.
The Manville Education Foundation helped to make the project possible by providing a grant for $295, Ms. Kurzius said.
Maggie Balzano, an eighth-grade team teacher, said the team wants future students to say, “I can’t wait to do the big eighth-grade project.”