Colorado here they come.
Four Early Middle School sixth-graders — Colton Meisner, Grant Gowdy, Caleb Holcomb and Thomas Givan — placed second at the Future Problem Solving state competition and will represent Texas, and their school, at an international competition in Colorado later this month.
“This is huge,” said Early School Superintendent Brett Koch. “We’re really proud of these kids, what they’ve accomplished is just tremendous.”
The middle school boys are all involved in the Early Independent School District’s gifted and talented program, called “LIFT,” which stands for “Learning Involvement For Tomorrow.” And, explained their teacher, Lisa Beck, as LIFT students, the boys were eligible to participate as a four-member team at the state Future Problem Solving competition.
Future Problem Solving, said Colton, the sort-of team spokes person, is a six-step process that includes identifying a problem, creating an underlying problem and making a solution for the underlying problem, then developing an action plan.
“You start off by studying a topic, and teams study three topics a year, but only one will be picked for the state competition,” he said. “And we’re given a packet for that problem.”
Beck said for this year’s state event, 782 competition packets were completed for the junior division and out of those 782, 60 teams and packets qualified.
Out of those 60, the Early team of Colten, Grant, Caleb and Thomas placed second.
“It’s quite an honor to have a team out of a school our size do this well in this competition,” Beck said.
Not only did the boys do extremely well in solving a future problem (caring for elders was the topic), they amazed the judges at how they met and dealt with current problem, Beck said.
“As you know, a dread virus had affected a lot of people in our school. That was the weekend we went to the state conference. While we were in Austin Thomas Givan got sick, very sick, so sick he had to call his parents to come and get him.”
That meant suddenly and unexpectedly the dynamic foursome had dwindled to three.
Beck said, in solving the problems in competition, each of the team members have different steps they do.
“To go in without one is extremely difficult,” Beck said, “but they did it. The state directors were quite amazed to have a team come unglued like that and compete successfully. That’s really unheard of.”
The International Conference will be May 31 through June 3 and will be held on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, Colo.
“Internationally, more than 50,000 students participate each year in the competitive components of the program, and only an elite 3 percent of the students earn an invitation to the International Conference,” Beck said.
The conference features outstanding creative problem solving students from around the world, she added and the Early FPS team will be competing with other students from 41 states within the United States as well as students from other countries, including Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.