Future Problem Solvers earn high marks

Submitted photo Future Problem Solvers Kennedy Holland, Hunter Hanson, Maria Salzetti, and Kameron Maxie.

In the fall of 2012, a group of sixth graders sat around a table. They didn’t really know each other, and they only spent thirty minutes together each day. The team of Maria Salzetti, Kameron Maxie, and Hunter Hanson, with Coach Cynthia Romberg, would then go on to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, win the State competition, and score highly at the Future Problem Solving International Conference.

Future Problem Solving is a program that ultimately teaches people how to think, not what to think. It takes current problems, such as this year’s International topic, The Global Status of Women, and stages those problems in a futuristic manner. In just two hours, the kids must find issues, determine the greatest challenge, and come up with the best solution. After the two intense hours of focus and writing, they must present their final solution in a separately scored skit called the Presentation of the Action Plan. The process is stressful for even the most composed, but these three kids from Kenai Middle School performed quite well.

This April, the team won the State Competition and earned an invitation to the International Conference held in Bloomington, Indiana. After most students were finished with school, this devoted threesome and their coach studied together for two hours each day. Originally, there was another team member who was unable to make it to the four-day conference in June. There were 36 U.S. states represented there, along with twelve other countries. It is an amazing opportunity, and the group was able to trade Alaskan memorabilia for souvenirs from almost every place present.

The trio’s solutions scored reasonably well, but they were harboring a hidden talent. Along with scenario writer Kennedy Holland of Sterling, they presented their final solution in a skit worthy of an Academy Award. The entire audience was laughing, and they did so well that they earned fourth place out of 58 teams. That marks the first time that a team from Alaska has won any award in the Presentation of Action Plans at the International level.

The group would like to thank the following organizations for their financial donations: Homer Electric Association, Peninsula Internal Medicine, and Dr. Hu Family Dentistry.

They would also like to thank the following organizations for donations of memorabilia for trading: Homer Electric Association, State Senator Peter Micciche, Kenai City Mayor Pat Porter, Bourough Mayor Mike Navarre, Homer City Mayor Beth Wythe, and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe.

Finally, a very special thank you to Coach Cynthia Romberg for her years of dedication and patience in sharing her knowledge of Future Problem Solving with so many kids. Thanks!

— Submitted by Theresa Salzetti

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