Problem Solved: Future Problem Solving National Champions

This year, Melville Senior High School had four students across Years 9 through to 11 compete in Future Problem Solving Competition. These students are Teagan Soper, Year 10; Om Sharma, Year 10; Zoey Tham, Year 9, and Zak Alpers, Year 11. All four Melville SHS entrants made it through to the National Finals. In WA we were fortunate as we were able to participate in an on-site competition at St Mary’s Anglican Girls School in mid October, as well as participate in the national online competition, and the finals qualification round.
On Friday the 23rd of October the results were live-streamed over YouTube and are as follows:
  • Melville Senior High School placed top 6 in the nation for the Presentation of Action Plans in the Senior Division. This was the Melville has participated in this segment of the competition; it involves making props out of basic household items and developing a skit which addresses a presented problem . The problem presented in this case was how to make clean water affordable in India in 2055 given probable technological advances.
  • Year 10 student, Om Sharma placed 3rd in Scenario Writing for the Senior Division.
  • Year 11 student, Zak Alpers won three awards over the competitions duration – Best Writer for the Senior Division on-site competition; national champion for the online scenario writing competition; and overall national champion for the Senior Division Scenario writing for his short story ‘Dreams’ based on the topic of sleep patterns, predicting possible future technological trends. Zak’s story is an incredible ‘sliding doors’ story, part blog outlining futuristic technology where humans can record dreams, brainstorm, collaborate and work whilst sleeping, stream Netflix whilst unconscious (with advertising downloaded straight into our brains) and even write blogs, all thanks to the development of dream avatars. The narrator of this story is of course sleeping whilst writing the very blog we are reading – and when he wakes, his atrophied human body is revealed, along with the slumbering form of his wife whom he tragically cannot wake, and he is alone in a dead city of dreams.
This is the second year in a row that Zak has been named as national champion. Zak placed 5th in the world in the International Future Problem Solving Competition this year and was the only non-American to place in the top 10. Zak has been invited to participate in the international competition for 2021 as well.
Melville Senior High School was the only public school invited to the national finals in WA; nationally, there were only a very finite number of public schools who made it through to the finals. This is a massive achievement for the students. Ms Tammara Yeo who coached and led the students through this process says “I am so proud of them all, holding their own against mostly eastern states elite private schools, with a fiercely competitive field and in schools where Future Problem Solvers is embedded deeply in the curriculum. I am incredibly proud of them all”. Fantastic work from the students and staff involved. Well done to all.