| Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online |
Odyssey of the Mind puts kids to test

By Rikki Cason
MEDINA -- Putting their problem-solving skills to the test, teams from throughout the Western New York area gathered in Medina on Saturday for the 30th annual Odyssey of the Mind regional competition, sponsored by Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Each of the 36 teams performed a skit for the judges regarding one of five different long-term problems from which they could choose. They also had to compete in a spontaneous round ó a verbal or hands-on problem that teams had to solve on the spot.

Choosing the "As Good as Gold...berg" problem was Washington Hunt Elementary Schoolís third- through fifth-grade team.

"Itís fun and creative," said team member Brendan Bingaman.

"We definitely have to be working together to get stuff done," said team member Izabella Digelman.

Washington Hunt placed third in division one.

Performing the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem was DeSales Catholic School, which placed first in division two.

"There was a lot of ups and downs," said team member Gretchen McCaffrey.

As eighth-graders, the team has been participating in Odyssey of the Mind for four years.

"Weíve learned each othersí strengths and weaknesses and have become a lot closer," Briana Hansen said.

Jackson Sperduti said that even though participating can be tough, and they donít always want to practice throughout the year, when they get to the regional competition, "itís worth it."

"Being with friends," he said. "Knowing most everyone in the room is there for you."

Also performing the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem was Royalton-Hartland Middle School.

"Itís fun and creative," Morgan Mathews said.

The team is made up of six seventh-graders and one fifth-grader. The group took third in division two for the problem.

"Itís good to work together as a team," Rachael Rausch said.

Seven soccer players from Lockport High School took their team-working skills from the field into the classroom, also choosing to do the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem.

"Itís fun," Kasey Johnston said. "We love our team."

Kelly Sherman said that Odyssey has taught them about patience and cooperation. They also learned how to work more in synch with each other. The group took first in division three.

"Everything really has run smoothly," Regional Director Sue Tomaszewski said. "Thanks to our judges, coaches, parents and Medina staff, itís easy to do when you have really good people."

Tomaszewski also thanked tournament director Nicole Goyette and problem captains Marianne Evans, Becki Tharp, Lynn Miller, John Donner, Jeanne Muffler, Karen Quaranto and Chuck Fish.

The teams who placed first in each division for the five problems will advance to the state level on March 26, to be held at SUNY Binghamton.

In division one, Potter Road Elementary of West Seneca will advance for the "Mousemobiles" problem, Oak Orchard Elementary School of Medina will advance for the "As Good as Gold...berg" problem, Oak Orchard Elementary School of Medina will advance for the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem and William Street of Lancaster will advance for the "Full Circle" problem.

In division two, West Middle School of West Seneca will advance for the "Extreme Mousemobiles," Emmet Belknap Middle School of Lockport will advance for the "As Good as Gold...berg" problem, DeSales Catholic School of Lockport will advance for the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem, Roy-Hart Middle School of Middleport will advance for the "Unhinged Structure" problem and Allendale Elementary School of West Seneca will advance for the "Full Circle" problem. Emmet Belknap Middle School will also advance in the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem. They received the one lottery slot available.

In division three, Lockport High School will advance for the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem, Wilson High School will advance for the "Unhinged Structure" problem and Medina High School will advance in the "Full Circle" problem.

Those placing at state will then head to the world finals in May at the University of Maryland.

Participating districts from Niagara County included Lockport, Niagara-Wheatfield, Royalton-Hartland, Wilson and DeSales Catholic School. From Orleans County were Medina and Holley, and from Erie County were West Seneca, Lancaster and South Buffalo Charter.

Other teams who placed but will not move on to state include Niagara-Wheatfield High School, which placed second for division three in the "Full Circle" problem; North Park Middle School of Lockport, which placed second for division two in the "Full Circle" problem; Charles Upson Elementary of Lockport, which placed second for division one of the "Classic...LeTour Guide" problem and Wise Middle School of Medina, which placed second for division two in the "As Good as Gold...berg" problem.


| More Articles |