Melbourne Team Invited to International Competition

Melbourne Team Invited to International Competition

Melbourne High’s Future Problem Solving team is one of two high school community project teams invited to represent Florida at the FPS International competition. It takes place at Iowa State University June 12-15.

The 10-member team earned second place in Florida’s Future Problem Solving Competition in Orlando in March for a community project called “Fostering Connections,” which provides critical resources to teens in foster care so they can achieve their goals.

Six members of the team will attend the International competition to present the “Fostering Connections” project. They are: rising senior Sydney Markham, rising junior Lee Deffebach, and recent graduates Jesse Kessler, Katie Galluscio, Malia Byrtus and Kimberly Bress.

The other members of the team are recent graduate Dominic D’Alessandro, rising sophomores Meagan Tumiatti and Olamide Onasaga, and Zoe D’Alessandro, a rising junior.

The team was mentored by Future Problem Solving co-coaches Pamela Bress, a staff attorney at Brevard County Legal Aid, and Diane Grover, a teacher at Melbourne High School.

Question: How proud are you of the FPS team for being invited to compete in the International competition?

Grover: I can’t tell you how much I admire them. They took on a project that I wouldn’t have the skills to tackle when I was in high school. They are amazing. It is quite an honor for them to be representing not just Melbourne High School, but the entire state of Florida at the Future Problem Solving International Competition.

Q: How did the project idea come about?

Bress: In my work through Brevard County Legal Aid, I saw the genuine need for foster care teens to have phones because many times we simply couldn’t readily get in touch with them.

Fostering connections is providing teens in foster care with the critical assets they need to become successful and independent young adults.

Q: What has this project meant to you?

Zoe D’Alessandro: For me, Fostering Connections is all about opening your mind to other people and situations and what their lives are like, and trying to make a difference for them.

Byrtus: I’ve seen the drive in the eyes of the foster teens we meet with. It’s been beyond rewarding to be a part of something that is helping to provide these young motivated people with the opportunities to be successful. Seeing a positive change in our community is the best part.

Markham: Fostering Connections has been the most amazing experience of my life. It is so inspiring to meet teens who have been through so much but are still positive about their future.

For more information about Melbourne High School’s award winning community project started through the Future Problem Solving program, visit


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