A picture of four students on Zoom holding signs that say spend local, preserve our community.

Friday, April 9, 2021 - 1:50 pm

Four MHS sophomores -- Jahnvi Datta, Shradha Godishala, Sarah Ann Huber, and Lauren Lamson -- took first place at the Future Problem Solvers State Conference earlier this year to qualify for the international conference.

The students are scheduled to attend the Future Problem Solvers Virtual International Conference on June 9-14. More than 2,200 students expected to participate in the conference, which is open to students in grades 4-12.

The MHS sophomores are members of the MHS Future Problem Solvers club that competes mainly in Global Issues Problem Solving events across the state. This year, Datta, Godishala, Huber and Lamson participated in the Community Problem Solving aspect of FPS for the first time.

In March 2020, they decided to focus their project on promoting local spending in the Middleton area as many businesses were closing temporarily or changing operations at the onset of the pandemic.

"So many things were changing and different that we thought it would be helpful to have a website that listed information about hours, curbside pickup and online ordering, and eventually outdoor and even indoor dining/shopping opportunities for many of the small businesses in our area,'' Lamson said. "We hoped community members would be able to use it as a reference so that figuring out how to eat and shop local wasn’t so difficult.''

The Middleton Spend Local website is updated regularly, Lamson said. The team also will submit its final project later this month, Lamson said.

Future Problem Solvers International was established in 1974 and its goal is to help students develop critical and creative thinking skills needed to solve real-world challenges and apply those skills to finding solutions that have the potential to bring about positive change.

More than 20,000 students from 32 states and 14 countries participated in 2019-20. To learn more, visit the FPSI website or the Wisconsin FPS site.