Fergus Richards, Tom Lynch, Preston Holder and Oliver Taylor. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Nelson boys solving world’s problems


Four Nelson boys have taken on the world and come out with a slew of trophies.

Last week, Nelson College Prep students Fergus Richards, Tom Lynch, Preston Holder and Oliver Taylor, all 12, returned from their triumphant trip to Wisconsin in the United States to compete in the Future Problem Solving International conference.

But travelling back with them were a haul of trophies and medals after coming up against 63 other teams from around the world.

“It was great for the boys to have done so well,” said teacher Sarah Watts. “There were teams from China, the United States, and then little New Zealand.”

The students won the dramatic presentation category in which they had to try and solve a community issue based on criminal justice and in a city in the future. The city was trying to implement a “safe streets” programme but authorities were doing this through hi-tech surveillance.

Instead, the boys suggested creating weaponry that could only be activated when a person was in genuine distress, so they could not be misused. The weapons would respond to bodily functions like heart rate.

“It’s set in the future, so you can be a bit creative,” said Tom.

They also came fourth in the exam part of the competition.

When the results were being read out, all the finalists were invited on stage and were counted down.

“It was amazing hearing the numbers tick away,” said Oliver. “We were just shell-shocked.”

Sarah says the boys were a pleasure.

“These lads are just 12-years-old. What they had to work through was just amazing.”