By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Funding concerns are facing two academic teams in the Millstone Township K-8 School District after the squads qualified to compete in international tournaments.
The Rainbow Unicorns, which is comprised of seven pupils from the Millstone Township Elementary School in grades three and four, finished second at the Destination Imagination New Jersey State Tournament. The team is scheduled to compete at the Destination Imagination Global Finals, which will take place on May 24-28 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Project Cyber Assistance Team (CAT), which is comprised of 17 students from the Millstone Township Middle School in grade six, finished first at the Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP) New Jersey State Bowl. The team is scheduled to compete at the FPSP International Conference, which will take place on June 1-5 at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
Destination Imagination teaches children how to apply science, technology, engineering and math skills with their creative and communication abilities, according to the Destination Imagination website.
The Rainbow Unicorns are scheduled to compete in the organization’s scientific challenge, which is focused on camouflage in organisms. In addition to researching camouflage, the challenge will require the team members to create and present a story and a set piece or prop related to the topic at hand, according to a press release submitted on behalf of the team.
The FPSP teaches students to solve problems creatively and offers competitive components. Project CAT participated in the organization’s Community Problem Solving competition and began a campaign to teach students about responsible Chromebook use.
According to a Project CAT press release, the team’s campaign featured informational meme posters, tips and announcements presented in a humorous tone, a Google Classroom with research and information, and public service announcements.
As of now, neither team has the funding it needs to travel to its respective tournament.
According to a fundraiser for the Rainbow Unicorns on GoFundMe, the competition fees and potential travel arrangements will cost more than $7,000.
According to a fundraiser for Project CAT on GoFundMe, the competition fees and potential travel arrangements will cost more than $17,000.
The Rainbow Unicorn Fundraiser is at https://www.gofundme.com/rainbowunicorns
The Project CAT Fundraiser is at https://www.gofundme.com/MillstoneCAT
With a total of 24 students seeking to attend the two events, the Board of Education will provide up to $100 per student, for a total possible contribution of $2,400, according to district administrators.
The board will provide a total travel expense of $4,740 for the four teachers traveling with the students (two teachers per team), in addition to a teacher stipend. The stipend amount was not known as of April 28. According to district administrators, the board always pays the expenses for teacher travel when the costs are associated with the teachers’ jobs and the supervision of students.