WRENTHAM — Superintendent Paul Zinni and Assistant Superintendent Susan Gilson are pleased to announce that several King Philip Regional High School students recently took part in a statewide event sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
On Friday, June 12, a seven-member student team from King Philip Regional High School joined approximately 300 high school students from across the state for an online competitive team-building exercise.
The teams were brought together through Zoom, where they first heard from Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley and Harvard University professors Monica Higgins and Uche Amaechi.
Students were then given a specific challenge they needed to address, first on their own and then as part of a team. Meant to mirror real-world situations involving high levels of uncertainty, students had to navigate through the challenge within a specified time period.
Team members from KPRHS included Riley Abrams, Sam Brady, Ahunna James, Russell Kitsis, Molly O’Brien, Ajae Olsen and Olivia Pacheco. Students from the same school were placed in different teams, allowing students to get to know their peers from other districts.
As part of the challenge, students assumed the roles of people stuck in the Arctic after a plane crash. They were tasked with ranking a set of more than a dozen survival items from least to most important, first individually and then as part of their team.
“This activity was very much like a real-world situation, because in real life it’s so important to be able to work together in a group,” said Molly O’Brien, who recently finished her sophomore year at KPRHS. “My group allowed everyone their chance to speak. Everyone had a different idea about which survival item was most important, so we really had to work together to come to a conclusion. It was a great way to improve your teamwork skills and meet new people.”
Students were not permitted to get input from adults during the discussion, forcing them to work together for the benefit of their teammates.
“The fun part about working in a group setting is you are able to collaborate and take other people’s opinions into consideration, which allows you to get a broader view on all of the possible aspects of the challenge,” said Ajae Olsen, who will be a senior at KPRHS in the fall. “But while collaboration is great, sometimes too many people try to step up and be the leader. This led to some disagreements that could negatively impact the success of the challenge, so we all had to work together if we wanted to succeed.”
KPRHS students were made up of freshman, sophomores and juniors.
“I am very pleased with how our students handled themselves during this event, joining their peers from other schools to think critically and work together as part of a team,” Assistant Superintendent Gilson said. “I am grateful to DESE for sponsoring this event, and allowing our students to still be able to participate in such a collaborative activity despite the restraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”