(Québec) EMSB “Gifted” Students Shine at First Canadian Affiliate Bowl of the Future Problem-Solving Program International

The English Montreal School Board hosted its first Canadian Affiliate Bowl of the Future Problem-Solving Program International (FPSPI) on Saturday, April 20 at the LaurenHill Academy Junior Campus in St. Laurent

By Vincenzo Paolella, Secondary V Student, Laurier Macdonald High School
Source: Press release

Montreal, April 29, 2024 – The English Montreal School Board hosted its first Canadian Affiliate Bowl of the Future Problem-Solving Program International (FPSPI) on Saturday, April 20 at the LaurenHill Academy Junior Campus in St. Laurent.  

Over the past few months, many EMSB students worked tirelessly and diligently as they engaged in the Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) enrichment program across various schools.  

Throughout their engagement, student participants have actively researched and applied a six-step creative problem-solving process as they resolved Future Problems connected to the topics of tourism, urbanization, and Antarctica. Those who qualified for the Affiliate Bowl developed a plan with creative and viable solutions for a future scene on Autonomous Transportation. Creativity research pioneer, Dr. Ellis Paul Torrance, created future problem solving (FPS) in 1974 to stimulate critical and creative thinking skills, encourage students to develop a vision for the future, and prepare students for leadership roles. 

“As we go through the six-step problem solving, we get to think inside the box, outside the box, with the box, and even in entirely new boxes” said Secondary IV Royal West Academy student Sumin Woo. “Creativity is valued, with no idea necessarily being a bad one. The passion and unique ideas generated by these talented learners is no doubt inspiring.” 

Parents were mentored by their children through solving a problem on nanotechnology medical treatments, and then they had the opportunity to present their action plans later in the day. The students as well, presented their action plans for which they qualified for the affiliate bowl. 

The event was a great opportunity for attendees to get a sense of what their children have been learning throughout their engagement in the GIPS enrichment program, as well as a fleeting opportunity for students to meet some of their problem-solving peers from other EMSB schools. 

The teams that scored the highest in their Affiliate Bowl competition will be able to represent Canada at the international competition, to be held in June at the University of Indiana, where over 2,000 participants from 12 other countries will be present.  

The winning teams were as follows: 

Junior Division: 
Nolan Hemu, Francesco Pace, and Marcus Khairy   
Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in TMR 

Middle Division: 
Rebecca O’Neill, Beatrice Reynolds, and Sparsh Nishit Shah 
Royal West Academy in Montreal West 

Senior Division: 
Sumin Woo, Sophie Iny, Yiran Lu, and Naima Hottenroth  
Royal West Academy  

“It is our hope, said Dr. Birlean in her speech, that their passion and success may in turn transfer to and benefit other institutions across Quebec, Canada and around the world, so that other bright children can acquire the creative problem-solving skills necessary to resolve the imminent problems of our society.” 

The program is being led by Dr. Camelia Birlean, the EMSB Consultant for Gifted and Exceptional Learners and Affiliate Director of Future Problem Solving Canada along with the help of Enrichment Facilitators Sarah Lubbe and Aishwarya Honnovalli, who are also Affiliate Coaches of the Future Problem Solving International.  

Each year, the EMSB offers services to about 450 gifted and talented learners through independent and school-wide enrichment programs in both elementary and high schools. The EMSB also boasts the only Canadian teams presently participating in the Future Problem-Solving Program International. 

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca

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