CHS problem solving teams rack up awards at state competition

Anika Witsoe, left, Ria Smyke, center, and Faith Collins, right, listen to Patience Anderson Faulkner, far right, demonstrate how to measure a tanned deer hide for the cover of their book at the Cordova Public Library on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

On the heels of victory at the Community Problem Solvers state competition in Soldotna, two of Cordova’s high school teams are gearing up for the international competition in Massachusetts in June.

Anika Witsoe, Faith Collins, Ria Smyke and Olivia Carroll placed first in the Senior Community Problem Solving Competition for their work to heal generational disconnect.

Amee Hamberger, Madelyn Roemhildt, Alana Esguerra and Serena Herschleb placed first in the Middle Team Competition, for teams comprised of seventh, eighth and ninth-grade students.

Both first place teams will attend the international competition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The second place Senior Team Competition members, for students in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade, included Kevin Chung, Collins, Smyke and Witsoe.

“The most difficult part of the future problem solving competition was finishing our packet in time,” Smyke said. “We have two hours to complete the six-step project and we were writing up until the last second. It was quite stressful, which is ironic as our topic was coping with stress.”


Smyke also placed second in the Senior Individual Competition and John Appleton placed third.

Esguerra placed second in the Middle Individual Competition.

About 2,000 problem solvers from across the world will gather for the June competition which is comprised of all divisions, juniors, middles and seniors, for both community problem solving and future problem solving, explained Smyke.

“For community problem solving, we will have to make our display for internationals more interactive and interesting to get people’s attention,” Smyke said. “For the future problem solving part, we will have two hours to complete the six-step process (the same as at state). The team will then have to come up with an entertaining skit that summarizes the action plan of their packet.”

Smyke said that she is looking forward to meeting people from around the world in addition to sharing their community project with them.