By Vada Elliott

A record number of Union students attended state Future Problem Solving (FPS) competition in Ames on April 17 and 18. One middle school student, Madison DeWitt, will be attending national/international competition in Ames on June 11-14.
The middle school had three FPS teams, two individuals, and one alternate attend; similarly, the high school had the same teams attend. A total of 26 students qualified for state; this is the largest number attending state FPS contest in Union history.
UMS students who attended were: 7th Grade: Natalie Techlenburg, Kayla Lambe, Rachel Hellman, Molly Niebergall, Madi Jantzen (alternate); 8th Grade: Carter Spore, Kody Crawford, Hunter Stwalley, Hunter Klima, Anna Smith, Jenna Steinlage, Emma Alpers, Tori Hadachek, Alanna Hines (individual – placed 2nd), Madi DeWitt (individual – placed 1st).
UHS students who attended were: 10th Grade: Kaitlin Holschlag, Peyton Parker, Payton Sash, Lizzie Kline, Heather Vaughn (alternate); 11th Grade: Trevor Krug (individual – placed 2nd), Keiara Faiferlick (individual – placed 1st); 12th Grade: Abby Ollendieck, Maria Wrage, Brooke Thiele, Morgan Phillips.
Future Problem Solving is a program which engages students in creative problem solving and encourages students to develop a vision for the future. This year’s topic for state contest was Enhancing Human Potential.
Each FPS team of four or five students or individual participant researches the assigned topic and reads a fictional scenario (future scene) based on the topic. The team uses a six-step process which includes identifying challenges, selecting an underlying problem, producing solution ideas, generating and selecting criteria, applying the criteria, and developing an action plan. The team has exactly two hours to complete the twelve-page packet. Packets are sent for evaluation and returned with a score, ranking, and recommendations on how to improve.