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York students fare well at Odyssey of the Mind competition

By Jessey Taylor
YMS team raises funds to move to next level

YORK -- Students from York Middle School and Coastal Ridge Elementary School were recognized for their creative problem-solving skills during the annual Maine Odyssey of the Mind competition.

The competition took place on Saturday March 20, in Sanford.

A York Middle School team placed first in Division II, for which students conducted a skit on "Discovered Treasure." That team has qualified for the OotM world finals competition in Michigan. The team is now raising money to help pay for that trip.

A group of CRES and YMS students placed second in Division I for their "Return to the Gift of Flight" skit.

There were four teams that participated in this year's Odyssey of the Mind competition. One team from CRES completed a "Nature Trailer" skit in which students had to build a vehicle to be used to perform tasks. The second team consisted of second- and third-grade girls, who created a "Food Court" skit, during which they presented different facts about food using fruit and vegetable costumes.

Another, mixed team of CRES and YMS third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students created the "Gift of Flight" skit, in which they created six different aircraft that could perform various tasks relating to speed, direction and elevation.

"We had some fifth-graders from the middle school come down to the elementary school to work with the younger students," said Odyssey of the Mind coach Michele Freitag. "It was kind of neat to see the kids work together over different age groups and genders."

In the York Middle School team's "Discovered Treasure," an object from the present was discovered in the future.

The students were judged on how well they worked as a team, how creatively they solved the problem they were assigned, and the style of the skit that presented the solution to the problem. Teams were given a limit of no more than $140 to create a skit about their assigned topic.

"The idea is not to give them enough money to be able to buy a solution to problem, but to recycle and use their imagination and teamwork and all the skills that are so important in the real world," Freitag said. "I see a lot of kids that gain confidence from participating in Odyssey of the Mind and social skills from working in a team and sharing ideas."

While two teams qualified to move on to the World Finals Competition at Michigan State University, the travel expenses of $1,000 per student are presenting another creative problem-solving challenge altogether.

The second-place CRES and YMS team decided not to move on to the next level because the travel costs are prohibitive. Freitag stated in the future, the district would like to send all of the first- and second-place teams to the world finals, if they qualify.

The first-place YMS team has decided to try to meet that funding challenge by organizing benefits to finance the trip. Freitag is currently working on ideas, such as selling coupon booklets featuring local businesses and hosting a used book and art sale to raise the $7,000 that is required to send six students and two team leaders to Michigan.

Businesses that wish to be featured in the coupon booklet or individuals interested in donating used children's books or artwork may contact Michele Freitag at 363-1800 or by e-mail at mfreitag@yorkschools.org. Tax-deductible cash donations may also be sent to Karen Norton at Coastal Ridge Elementary School.



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