Ocean Air students compete, earn awards at Future Problem Solvers International Conference

Ocean Air team members: Back row: Isaac Hsu, Yaj Jhajhria, Ravi Achar, Katherine Kwon, Sydney Chan; Front row: Coach Ariella Leeder, Arshia Shah, Amrutha Challa

A team of Ocean Air School 6th graders recently competed in the Future Problem Solvers International Conference in La Crosse, Wis.

Led by Ocean Air STEAM+ teacher Ariella Leeder, the students had one-two months to research this year’s topic of criminal justice systems. They prepared for the competition by applying a six-step model which included identifying challenges to an assigned future scene, selecting an underlying problem and generating solution ideas.

Students qualified to attend based on their recent performances at the Future Problem Solvers California State Bowl held in April in Poway at the Design39 campus.

Students and chaperones stayed in the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse dormitories. For many students it was their first opportunity to experience dorm life and interact with students from other states and countries.

Over 1,000 students participated in the Junior (4-6th grades), Middle (7-9th grades) and Senior divisions (grades 10-12). Twenty-six states were represented and 16 different countries/ republics were also represented.

Ocean Air competed in the following categories:

MAGIC division (Multi- Affiliate Global Issues Competition): Ravi Achar, 1st place;

Scenario Writing Team division: Katherine Kwon, 1st place, Amrutha Challa, 3rd place;

Global Issues Problem Solving Team division: Sydney Chan, Isaac Hsu, Yaj Jhajhria, Arshia Shah.

A special aspect of FPS is that it promoted collaboration with students from different regions through various activities both competitive and noncompetitive.

The scenario writing teams and the MAGIC teams brought together groups of three-four students from different regions to compete together as unified teams. The memento exchange was an opportunity for students from around the world to bring small souvenirs to share with one another from their country or state of origin.

The FPS variety show required groups to be from at least two different regions and was another highlight for the Ocean Air team. For more information, visit