Watch out for students in the local libraries as they get creative to present Illawarra's top 50 people, places or events for a school competition.
The Multiverse Challenge school competition asks students in years five to 10 to create a major work in a creative form about the Illawarra.
"Students around the Illawarra will be invited to either construct a prose poem, or a film, or a podcast, or to create an artwork, or still photography about one of these 50 people, places, or events," Bulli High School English teacher David Strange said.
"Then we plan to hand out cash awards in December."
Bulli High School is partnering with the Wollongong City Council library to encourage students to research their local area through books, microfiche, digital and video archives.
Mr Strange was inspired to create this year's local theme when he overheard a conversation about a Wollongong invention, the Owen sub-machine gun.
"[It] was actually developed at Belmore Basin and I thought that's incredible that we have such an iconic piece of world machinery and really so little is known by the people of this area, by the students of this area. Why not find 50 iconic stories?," Mr Strange said
He believes the competition will inspire the students to have local pride of their area.
"To bring these stories to life, so that kids feel connected to their local community and proud of where they live," he said.
The Multiverse Challenge was created in 2022, the term multiverse popularised through Marvel films and comics, to encourages students to see the interconnected nature of their learning.
"It invites students to see that their education is a type of multiverse where their science lessons are not divorced from their English lessons, nor their mathematics lessons," he said.
"It's inviting students to see the complexity of their education and to produce a major work for a cash prize."
The cash prizes includes a $500 first-prize award along with a number of cash prizes under different categories sponsored by local businesses and through government funding.
The competition has a second feature, to get students thinking about their career prospects.
"We're working together to talent spot the best and brightest in the Illawarra and to push them towards careers in their chosen field," Mr Strange said.
The winner of the poetry and short stories category will receive funding to have a professional artist voice record their work.
The winner of the video game design award will win a three-month tertiary scholarship for a coding course valued at $1700.
The school is keen for parents to help mentor the students, from journalists to musicians.
"We've got film editors and film actors, and novels and scientist and physicist, and we're just simply reaching out to them," Mr Strange said
The creative competition was founded when Mr Strange and physics teacher Nik Brankovic were chatting about independent filmmaker A24's Everything Everywhere All at Once. They saw the film about the multiverse as a learning opportunity.
"The Holy Grail of education is to make kids see that all of these subjects are actually interrelated."
The competition is in its second year and this year Bulli High has invited other schools to join the competition.
In the inaugural competition in 2022, Year 7 and 8 students were challenged to express their strengths through a futuristic theme inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Major works were presented in various forms, from an animation to a cake, musical compositions to Lego designs students, even a dog costume.
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