A Matanzas High School team was crowned Grand Champion in its division and a Rymfire Elementary team was one of the first-place winners at this year’s Future Problem Solvers International Competition. The competition was held virtually because of the coronavirus emergency. The results were announced by video on Tuesday.
Matanzas High School won for “Flagler County Sports SWAP,” which recycles used sports equipment, with donated equipment cleaned and redistributed through a “SWAP Shop” at a church. The acronym stands for Students Wanting Athletic Participation. Matanzas is the official winner, but the students who formed the team are not all Pirates: Benjamin Kopach was a freshman at Matanzas, Jake Blumengarten and and Tommy Sturman were freshmen at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Aiden White was an eighth grader at Indian Trails Middle School. They were coached by Amy Kopach, Benjamin’s mother.
Rymfire won first place in the Junior Human Servfices division for a project called “The Hero Squad,” designed to help young students not be intimidated around law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders. Project students invited responders to interact with Rymfire students over the course of the year, before the shut-down. The team was coached by Tim Ruddy, and consisted of Josiah Baccus, Abbie Blumengarten, Kaylee Cavas, Alyssa Fernandez, Anna Gimbel Aniyah Graham, Persia Hughes, Cameron Kalasnik, Timothy Kulev, and Xavior Rodriguez.
Flagler Palm Coast’s “Project Renew” won second place in the Civic/Cultural competition, which had placed first in state competition. The team consisted of Arabella Borges, Isabella Colindres, Sean Gilliam, Paul Grau, Alan Hale, Madelynn Oliva and Emma Zverinsky, and were coached by Jennifer Santore, Caitlin Hutsell, and Sarah Reckenwald. FPC also took fourth place in the Global Issues team competition, a team made up of Jackson Castaneda, Cameron Driggers, Jack Petocz and Alysa Vidal, and sixth place in the same competition’s senior division. That team consisted of Isabella Colindres, Madelynn Oliva, Paul Grau and Sean Gilliam.
One team did not place at the international competition, but it did something else last week: On June 2, students from Indian Trails Middle School placed signs at AdventHealth Palm Coast that bring awareness to mental health and spread messages of positivity. The signs were designed and created by an FPS team that consists of Kyra Baldwin, Mary Foulk, Stanley Gatzek, Brynn Gifford, Jack Gilvary, Glynnis Gong, Malina Hreib, Leila Jackson, Emma Mittledorfer, Stephanie Ramatar, Carolina Sawicki, Samantha Simon and Austin Weeks.
The team’s project is called, COPE (Collaborating with Others to Progress Emotional resilience), and had placed first in the state competition, also held virtually last April. “I am extremely proud of the hard work and effort they put in this and the way they continued this project when the school closed due to Covid-19,” said Jennifer Colintres, Indian Trails Future Problem Solvers sponsoring teacher.
“We are proud to display these two signs on our hospital campus, showing support and positive messaging to our employees, guests and patients,” said Wally De Aquino, AdventHealth Palm Coast chief operating officer. “We are appreciative of this group of young problem solvers bringing up such an important topic.”