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Four St John’s Students Win the Global Issues Problem Solving Competition


Over the weekend four St John’s Future Thinkers students participated in the Future Problem Solving National Finals competition organised by Future Problem Australia and hosted by Nossal High School in Berwick, Victoria. 

To make it into the finals was a spectacular achievement as the ‘Global Issues Problem Solving Competition’ is an extremely difficult competition.  What made it even more exceptional was that the St John’s Team came out on top and won this prestigious competition! Our brilliant Year 10 team consisted of William Smith, Gayathri Menon, Thomas Cameron and Richa Patel were coached by St John’s teacher Stavros Ikonomakis.  

In the four years that the St John’s Anglican College’s Future Thinkers Extension Program has been offered, this is the second year in a row that St John’s Anglican College made it to the finals. This time round, St John’s competed against twelve other schools from all the different states who have been involved in this competition for many years and were ‘seasoned pros’.  

The competition involved groups of four students reading a futuristic scenario and then completing a six step problem solving booklet. This then helps to provide a solution to an underlying problem within the scenario.  

The theme for the 2016 competition was ‘The Global Workplace’ and the students were presented with a scenario that touched upon working in a virtual office (or the closest uplink terminal) and being able to be contacted 24 hours a day.  The scenario presented the company, ‘GU’ which had a monopoly over the global workplace and employed temporary workers at cheap rates for a range of different projects.

The team’s clever solution involved incorporating IBM and creating a quantum computer that utilised DeepWave technology.  

While the Global Issues Problem Solving six-step booklets were being marked, each team had two hours to develop an original skit that demonstrated their Action Plan visually.  This was a different competition that encouraged all groups to present creatively. The students’ presentations had to include a mystery quote and mystery object which they found out about just at the beginning of their preparations for the presentations.  The prop for the Action Plan Presentation was a novelty party hat and the quote was “nobody ever got broke telling people what they wanted to hear.”

St John’s Teacher, Stavros Ikonomakis said, “Our team were brilliant and entertaining.  They were also original, humorous and witty”. 

A combination of these elements contributed to the team making the finals of the Action Plan Presentation competition.  In the finals of the Action Plan Presentation the students did a stellar job and captivated and engaged the audience.  They came third in the Senior Division and were awarded a bronze medal at the Awards Ceremony on the Sunday, which was thrilling in itself.  

After the final award, the National Director then spoke to the top three teams in each division and invited St John’s to the International Competition, which will be held in America in June 2017.   

The College would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Mrs Annelisje Cameron who escorted the group to Melbourne and assisted the group immensely throughout this rewarding competition. We also extend our thanks to Mr Ikonomakis who coached the students and also supported them at the competition.

Congratulations and it an inspiring effort by such a talented group of St John’s students, who collectively have made us very proud. 



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