Students place at Future Problem Solvers State Bowl


Courtesy of Carol Green

The freshman team poses after performing their skit. The team placed first for their presentation of an action plan.

by Katherine Zhang, Reporter

Six upper school students won awards at the Future Problem Solvers (FPS) State Bowl held from April 16-17 at St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Freshmen Kelly Shen, Sara Min, Taylor Lam and Tiffany Wong and sophomore Aria Coalson participated in Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS), while junior Evani Radiya-Dixit participated in the Multi-Affiliate Global Issues Competition (MAGIC).

The team consisting of Kelly, Sara, Taylor and Tiffany placed first in the middle division for their presentation of action plan and second for their written packet, qualifying them to represent California at the Future Problem Solvers International Conference. Sophomore Aria Coalson, competing as an individual, placed third in the senior division, allowing her to move on to the International Conference as an alternate competing in MAGIC. Junior Evani Radiya-Dixit placed first in the combined middle and senior division in MAGIC.

“All six students who attended won awards, which is rare and just shows how hard they’ve been working,” FPS advisor Carol Green said. “A lot of this is student-driven, and that’s one of the coolest things about FPS. I was there to guide and answer questions and offer support, but in reality, they do so much of it.”

To qualify, competitors must have completed a written packet detailing the solution for a qualifying problem and submitted it to State Bowl evaluators. Around a third of applicants were approved were invited to participate in the State Bowl as teams or individuals in GIPS. Schools also had the option to bring alternates to the State Bowl to compete in MAGIC, where students from all attending schools were randomly placed into teams of up to four people.

“[Competing] was really fun because I worked with three people who I had never met before, so I got to know them and make friends,” Evani said.

During the first portion of the competition, competitors were given future scenarios, in which they had to identify 16 problems. From there, they identified an underlying problem as well as 16 solutions for that problem. After choosing one solution to implement, competitors wrote an action plan. Competitors had to finish their packets within two hours.

“Working on the packet together was really enjoyable and made us really think about the future scenario and analyze it in the best way possible,” Kelly said.

The next part of the competition, which only teams in GIPS participated in, involved presenting the action plan from their written packet as a skit. Competitors used a variety of materials to create costumes and props, such as aluminum foil, construction paper and pipe cleaners. Teams had two hours to make costumes and props, write and memorize a script and rehearse their skit before performing for a panel of judges.

Freshman Kelly Shen speaks to the crowd during her teams skit. The team placed first for their presentation of an action plan.
Courtesy of Carol Green
Freshman Kelly Shen speaks to the crowd during her team’s skit. The team placed first for their presentation of an action plan.

The part I enjoyed the most about the presentation of action plan is being able to actually make one of our solutions into real life and elaborate on the process of transforming something that we wrote on paper to a more tangible thing,” Taylor said. “Also, it teaches us how to be more resourceful and imaginative.”

The International Conference will be held at Michigan State University from June 1-5.