Students from the Paris Independent School District swept the 2011 Future Problem Solving Program International convention award ceremonies Sunday in LaCrosse, Wisc., returning to Paris with six trophies, several plaques and lots of memories.
Kate Maxwell, a Paris High School student, won Grand Champion Individual problem solver; Kyran Hollje, a Crockett Intermediate School student, won Junior Division Individual Community Problem Solving competition with her entry, Project WASH; Matthew Draeger, a Paris Junior High School student, won Middle Division Individual Community Problem Solving competition with his entry, Operation PREP, and the Crockett Intermediate School gifted and talented Project PARIS entry took first place in the Junior Division Team Community Problem Solving competition against 15 other projects. The team of 38 students were represented by Laney Madding, Logyn Ashford, Lilly Lewis, Reagan Stone and Andria Gentry.
The Paris High School team of Andi Bawcum, Allison Ensey, Elle Hussey, and Maddy Struve were fourth place out of 53 teams. Also from Paris High, the team of Devin England, Rhiannon Chambers, Emily Mason, and Olivia Palomares were finalists. From Crockett Middle School, a team comprised of Brendan Henry, Sam Cannon, Jacob Stripland and Dixon Grossnickle took 10th place out of 59 teams.
Both team and individual problem solvers competed on the topic "Emergency Planning." Students responded to a cyber-attack in a "Smart City" scenario set in the year 2031.
Paris High School teachers Sandra Strom, Jennifer Simmons and Janet Dickey coach the school's Future Problem Solving teams while Debb Fleming, gifted and talented instructor, coaches at Crockett Intermediate School.
Strom and Fleming expressed the excitement of the moment.
"Texas took home 18 trophies, which was an awesome showing for our state," Strom said. Of those 18 trophies, a third of them, six trophies, were won by Paris ISD - quite a tribute to our kids."
Fleming praised Draeger, Hollje and the global issue team and then talked about Project PARIS.
"Nothing creates a sense of belonging more than a shared past," Fleming said. "Project PARIS has allowed us to increase the opportunities to learn about our town and our elder's history before another page of life turns and their stories are lost forever."
The PARIS team had a "Memory Tree," which students from the United States and eight other countries wrote special memories about their towns on multi-colored paper leaves and hung them on the tree.
"Team members read and realized that many of the memories written were similar to their own," Fleming said. "Participating at the International competition allowed team members to see how they are connected to people throughout the world."
International competition culminates more than nine months of preparation.
"I can't say enough about their dedication and their determination to be successful," Strom said about PISD competitors. "This is a tough competition, and they have proved themselves to be the best in the world - what an achievement!"