Emanuel School’s students shine

October 26, 2021 by Michelle Favero
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Sydney’s Emanuel School students, Ruby Brody and Eden Levit have been awarded first place in the National Finals of the Future Problem Solving (FPS) Program’s Community Problem Solving Competition (Senior Division).

Emanuel students celebrating their achievements with Craig Moss, Co-ordinator of Gifted & Talented 7-12

FPS is an interdisciplinary program that encourages young adults to develop problem-solving strategies through collaboration, and critical and creative thinking.

As a result of their win, the Year 10 pair have been invited to attend the prestigious 2022 FPS Program International Conference in America.

The FPS’s Community Problem Solving Program sees students identify and develop a workable solution to a contemporary issue. Ruby and Eden, who had been developing their project since May, teamed up to select a real-world problem, identify a solution, and then actively implement an action plan to address the matter.

Their subject of interest saw them critically evaluate the normalisation of sexual assault,  posing the question: “How might we change the culture of peer-on-peer sexual assault in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, so that teenagers not only recognise the dangers of ‘rape culture,’ but lead the conversation about sexual assault and consent so that the mentality towards sexual activity changes and enthusiastic consent is made the priority…”.

In response to the identified problem, Ruby and Eden developed a social media plan targeting Sydney’s eastern suburbs adolescents “with the intent to rewrite the culture of peer-on-peer sexual assault so that the mentality towards sexual activity changes to become respectful of another’s body, and where consent is always asked”.

The Instagram account that the students developed showed immediate results and traction beyond their initial expectations. Ruby reported: “I really enjoyed how we were able to have input from other teenagers and seeing their interactions with the account… the issue that Eden and I were addressing resonated with so many teenagers, so much so that people contacted us, offering any support with the account and reposted our content to their own accounts to spread the word.”

Whilst their win has tangible benefits for both students, it was the results of their actions that were particularly impactful, with Eden commenting that being able to empower others and receive positive feedback was extremely rewarding.

In addition to her success in the Community Problem Solving Program division,

Eden placed first in the FPS Scenario Performance (Individual) – Senior Division, along with Maayan Granot, who placed third. The students were required to submit a five-minute futuristic storytelling performance on the topic of Personalised Medicine. Eden’s creativity and ability to extend herself beyond her comfort zone were validated with her final result. “The competition required the use of multiple characters and I had to create several personalities and accents. This was by far the most creative and enjoyable aspect of the story-writing process”.

Willow Gelin, Year 9, came in the top three in the Community Problem Solving Competition (Individual) – Middle Division with her critical evaluation and solutions to the issue of teenage gambling.

Andrew Watt, Principal, was delighted with the students’ performances: “The problem solving and critical and creative thinking aspects of the FPS competitions engage, challenge and extend high potential and gifted students.

I am exceptionally proud of the 19 students who represented Emanuel School in the FPS competition series and commend their determination, dedication and enthusiasm, despite the barriers created by COVID. I also commend Craig Moss, Co-ordinator of Gifted & Talented 7-12, who coached the students to success”.

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