by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — Five Catholic college girls from New Zealand are among the best student problem-solvers in the world.
A McAuley High School team won the Education category in the senior division of the 2014
Future Problem Solving international conference in the United States, earlier this month.
McAuley High School deputy principal Louise Addison said the McAuley girls qualified for
the competition at Iowa State University by winning the New Zealand finals of Community
Problems Solving last November.
“Students have been working on the project since January 2013,” Ms Addison said. Before
attending the finals they had to:
– prepare a six page summary of the problem-solving process
– prepare a six page addendum, or visual summary
– prepare a portfolio of evidence
– prepare a five minute media presentation (http://prezi.com/2brscifrpzkv/media-presentation-
– practise interviewing techniques
– prepare materials for a display board.
The competitions were held from June 12 to 15, said Ms Addison — who was the McAuley
coach. There were more than 2000 students — from each of the 50 states of America
and 14 countries: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, New
Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Great Britain, Turkey, India and the United States.
At the competition venue, for the finals, the girls had three hours to prepare a display
board and were marked on clarity, creativity and teamwork, Ms Addison said.
They also had a 30 minute interview with judges and made public presentations at the
community problem-solving fair.
“As a result of these efforts they were awarded first place in the senior division of the 2014 FPSPI International Conference CMPS [Community Problem Solving] team competition,
There were 50 teams in community problem solving, Ms Addison said — 20 in the senior division.
The judges commented: “Evaluators impressed with clear passion and drive for the project, insight into area of concern, flexibility of solutions — strong teamwork and desire to make a difference in their community.”
McAuley High School is in Otahuhu, south Auckland.