Franklin teacher, students shine

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2007

With the support of a dedicated adviser and coach, a group of Franklin students is learning to make a decisive difference in the community, long before many of them even approach their high school graduations.

Patti Rabil has led a group of students ranging from fourth grade to seniors to remarkable levels of achievement with the Future Problem Solving Program International, most recently culminating in a bevy of awards for the team and the &uot;Mover and Shaker&uot; award for Rabil. The coach’s award is the highest non-competitive honor bestowed by the organization’s state affiliate and is given to an individual who has &uot;made a difference&uot; through his contributions to the organization.

Rabil clearly has made a difference in the Franklin schools and in the city generally. Under her leadership, Franklin’s Problem-Solving teams have garnered numerous awards at every level in which they’ve competed. Her teams have won both first place and the grand championship in international competitions and are headed back next month to pit their intellectual skills against other teams from across America and around the globe.

With its mission goals of increasing creative-thinking abilities, improving analytical thinking skills and stimulating interest in the future and the problems our world might be expected to face, Future Problem Solving serves as a training ground for future community leaders, building both their confidence and their skills in solving problems.

Franklin’s Disaster Watchdogs are one well-known by-product of the team’s efforts. That group has done — and continues to do — real work to solve the problem of inadequate disaster preparedness in a city that has seen two major floods within the last decade. When thinking about that community contribution, keep in mind that this is a group of children and teens working largely on their own, not a government-sanctioned committee of adults with comparatively vast experience.

Congratulations to the Franklin team for its continued success in the Future Problem Solving Program and to Rabil for her recent award. Their work represents some of the best skills that can be taught in school — creativity, critical thinking, cooperation and determination, among others. Good luck to both the team and its coach as they head for the international competition in June.