Pupils ready for big problems
Civil rights abuses, environmental issues and the Declaration of Human Rights are a few topics a group of year 7 and 8 pupils from Fairhall School in Blenheim are swotting up on in preparation for the national Future Problem Solvers competition in Auckland next month.
Pupils in teams of four from 300 schools around the country will lock heads to solve the world's problems at the nationals from November 2 to November 4.
Fairhall School, which has made it to the nationals four times since first entering in 1990, is the only school from Marlborough competing.
Fairhall School deputy principal and year 7 and 8 teacher Denyse Healy said pupils had been working on scenarios for the competition all year.
The scenarios, set 50 years into the future, had involved problem-solving for issues such as the collapse of coral reefs and civil rights.
Solving the scenarios involved a huge amount of reading and researching and creative, ethical and innovative thinking, Ms Healy said.
However, pupils also had the good fortune this week to get some expert guidance from the first chairman of dairy co-operative Fonterra, John Roadley, who spoke to them about economics and trade barriers, and speech and drama teacher Pam Logan, who worked with them on improving their presentation and improvisation skills.
All pupils were high achievers; each played a musical instrument and at least one sport on top of their schoolwork, Ms Healy said.
"It just blows my mind what they're capable of - and the programme they're doing - it's really in-depth," she said.
"They're like sponges."
Pupils only found out they made it through to the nationals last week and have about two weeks to scrape together $10,000 for their accommodation and airfares.
To get to the nationals they are fundraising by selling bread from de Brood Bakker's in Blenheim.
For more information, contact Fairhall School on 577 8939. The last date to place orders is Tuesday, October 23. Bread can be collected from the school on the Friday.
- The Marlborough Express