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Hundreds of students in Dalton to explore Odyssey of the Mind

By Kim Sloan
Dalton Daily Citizen

Aliens, children with multi-colored hair and bright costumes roamed the halls of Dalton Middle School Saturday as students participated in Odyssey of The Mind, a national program designed to nurture creative thinking.

About 90 teams competed in six problem-solving challenges. bringing about 1,300 people to the school. This is the 14th year the regional tournament has been held in Dalton.

Sounding wiser than his 12 years, Dalton Middle School sixth-grader B.J. Rowland, said his participation in a challenge called "The Large and Small of It" forced him to think outside of the box.

"This is one of the harder ones," Rowland said of his team's challenge that included making one of his team members to appear smaller in size.

It required meeting every day at school for a about a month at 7:50 a.m., 40 minutes before school began. The team worked two days of winter break and after school for the last three days.

The students love the challenge, said Lisa Hackney, regional director of Georgia Odyssey of the Mind. Hackney also teaches social studies to gifted students at Dalton Middle School.

"Everything is 'kid-done,' parents are not allowed to do anything," Hackney said, noting the challenges lead students to look at problems in creative ways. "In class, it's the right answer or wrong answer instead of let's create a new answer."

Carson Dance, a 17-year-old student from Chamblee High School in Marietta roamed the halls in a lime green skirt shaped like a disc accessorized with metallic boots. Performing with four of her classmates, she made the costumes they wore.

"I have many, many years of experience," Dance said of her sewing capabilities.

Many children do participate in Odyssey of the Mind throughout school. Participants can begin in kindergarten and compete in college.

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