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Saucon Valley Students Participate in ‘Future Problem Solvers’ Competition

Four Saucon Valley Middle School students are participating in a prestigious international competition in New England this weekend.

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Saucon Valley Middle School students Saydee Skiba, Vaughn Kaye, Maggie Gorman and Rocco Vangelo are competing at Future Problem Solvers’ annual International Conference at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst this weekend. (Contributed photo)

Four Saucon Valley Middle School students are participating in a prestigious international competition in New England this weekend.

Saydee Skiba, Rocco Vangelo, Maggie Gorman and Vaughn Kaye are members of the school’s Future Problem Solvers (FPS) program, in which students develop critical thinking skills with the help of mentors, coaches and teachers.

The educational program was first developed nearly 50 years ago and consists of state affiliates, which send the winners of their competitions to compete at FPS’s annual International Conference.

In a school district news release, superintendent Jaime Vlasaty noted that the students’ entry in the international contest at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is a first for the district.

“It is a moment of pride and joy for Saucon Valley School District that its middle school students qualified for an international competition,” the release said. “Students participating in the competition must identify and provide solutions to real-world problems, including challenges related to economics, the environment and global issues.”

Beyond critical thinking skills, FPS also provides students with valuable creative thinking, teamwork, communication and decision-making experiences.

“This is a momentous occasion for all of us, and I am extremely proud of our students and mentors who have worked tirelessly to make this happen,” Vlasaty said. “Our students have competed against districts from across the state and have emerged victorious. The international competition will provide them with an even bigger platform to showcase their talents and represent our district on a global stage.”

The district said it hopes the students’ achievement will inspire their peers to participate in academic programs and pursue paths to solving real-world problems.

The FPS competition in Amherst, Mass., continues through Sunday, June 11.

The four students from Saucon Valley are the first to represent the district at the international FPS competition this weekend. (Contributed photo)


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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