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Two NL Odyssey of the Mind teams qualify for the 2009 World Finals



Kentwood - Two teams from New Lothrop Area Public Schools will travel to Iowa State University in May to represent Michigan at the Odyssey of the Mind 2009 World Finals, an international problem-solving competition for students of all ages. The teams earned a place at World Finals by finishing in first or second place at the Michigan Odyssey of the Mind Association Finals on April 18 at East Kentwood High School.

The New Lothrop Elementary School team solved the long-term problem, Shock Waves and earned a second place finish, in the Division 2 competition. The team was required to design, build, and test a structure made of balsa wood and glue, that was able to balance and support weights. The team incorporated a performance about the animals living in a condemned building. The New Lothrop Elementary School team members are Maelin Wheeler, Ben Harnish, Roen Wheeler, Kaitlyn Forsyth , Erica Seamon , and Jane Shanafelt. The students are in the 7th and 8th grade. David and Kelley Harnish coach the team.

The Division 3 team from New Lothrop High School competed in the long-term problem, Earth Trek and finished in first place, capturing the State Championship. The Earth Trek team was also awarded the prestigious Ranatra Fusca award for displaying exceptional creativity. The team created a battery powered vehicle that journeys to four different environments. The team's performance depicts John Lennon's journey to save the "heart of music" after his death. The New Lothrop High School team members are Gina Jones, Haley Newman, Courtney Rivette, Kris Ondris, Ariel Loll, and Josh Reinhart. The students are in the ninth through twelfth grade. Denny and Dianne Henige coach the team.

Two additional New Lothrop Elementary School teams also competed in the State Championship. A New Lothrop E.S., Division 1 team finished in ninth place in the Teach Yer Creature problem. The team members are Sutter Bitterman, Chad Andres, Evan Wendling, Makayla Klatt, Alexis Birchmeier, and Jake Huber. The students are in the second through fourth grade. Colleen Bitterman coaches the team. The New Lothrop E.S., Division 2 team competing in the Earth Trek problem also finished in ninth place. The team members are Keenan Smith, Austin Pollard, Emily Krupp, Adam Hemgesburg, Kasia Naessens, Skye Nancarrow, and Noah Klier. Karin Smith coaches the team.

The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals is a major educational event, and it is the largest competitive problem solving competition in the World. Over 800 teams will come from throughout the U.S. and across the world to compete. Of those, 15 will claim the title of World Champion of Creative Problem-Solving. The World Finals will be held May 31 - June 3 in College Park, Maryland, at the University of Maryland. The New Lothrop Odyssey of the Mind teams will be holding a bake sale on Saturday, May 9 at Confer's Family Food Market in New Lothrop to raise funds toward the cost of the World Finals competition.



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