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Calloway Middle Schoolers to Compete at International Academic Competition


A group of local students have qualified for an international academic tournament this summer.

Last week, the Calloway County Middle School Future Problem Solving Team, a division of the Academic Team, placed third at the Kentucky Association for Academic Competition state tournament in Louisville.

The placement allowed the Calloway FPS students an invitation to advance on to the Future Problem Solving Championship in Ames, Iowa which will feature thousands of students from across the United States and from all over the globe.  

The students will be engaged in Future Scene problem solving. From the FPSPI's site: 

Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) is a competitive component of FPSPI which can be accomplished as a team (of 4) or individual activity in which participants research a series of global topics and learn a six-step creative problem solving process. Problem solvers apply their topic and creative problem solving knowledge to address a charge presented in an imagined situation, termed Future Scene.

Calloway's Academic Team Coach Scott Pile says the invitation is a big accomplishment knowing how stiff the competition is at the state level.

"Kentucky gets more bids than the other states do," said Pile. "Very similar to basketball, with strong conferences, you get more teams in. This year Kentucky got to put in six teams."

The top placing middle schools at the state conference this year were:

  1. Northern Middle School (Pulaski Co)
  2. Glasgow Middle School
  3. Calloway County Middle School
  4. Ashland Middle School
  5. Winburn Middle School
  6. Holy Name School (Henderson)
Credit CCMS

Future Problem Solving engages students to use critical thinking to form solutions for an assigned political or cultural problem. Pile says it's a learning experience that will help train skills later in life.

"It's great for a student from a public county school to realize that they can achieve and be considered at the same learning levels as students from across the world," said Pile. "And it's such a confidence-boost knowing that they can compete for the same types of jobs later in the future."

Pile says CCMS last participated in the tournament two years ago and received a semifinalist award, so the team has high expectations this year.  

"Our kiddos are confident and they're expecting a top 10 placement in the International Championships," said Pile. "Our topic this year is intellectual property, so the kids are going to start researching that next week and how it's going to shape the future of our planet."

CCMS's FPS team includes 8th graders Madison Adams, Madison Phillips, Jamison Moorehead and 7th grader Zoe Stom. 8th grader Tristian Ives serves as a team alternate which Pile says also allows him to compete in other events. 

"The team will be competing together but we also have [Ives] who will be competing in an alternate competition," said Pile. "He competed at the state level for FPS alternates and actually got the state runners-up and was matched up with students from other teams. So instead of being paired up with students from Kentucky, he may be paired up with students from other counties. That's gonna be a real neat experience for him coming up."

The international conference takes place at Iowa State University June 10th to 14th.   

Rob Canning is a native of Murray, KY, a 2015 TV Production grad of Murray State. At MSU, he served as team captain of the Murray State Rowing Club. Rob's goal is to become a screenwriter, film director or producer and looks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie for inspiration. He appreciates good music, mainly favoring British rock n' roll, and approves of anything with Jack White's name on it. When not studying, rowing or writing, Rob enjoys spending his free time with a book or guitar.
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