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Students take 'Odyssey of the Mind'


UNION - Students dressed as pieces of bubble gum, pirates, rabbits in baskets, and plenty of other costumed characters who weren't as easily identifiable converged on Ryle High School on March 24 for the regional Odyssey for the Mind competition.

About 450 students from 18 Northern Kentucky schools participated in group activities that ranged from building small vehicles to performing as travelers in imaginary places.

They are among thousands of schools from the U.S. as well as 25 other countries to participate in Odyssey of the Mind, which hosts creative problem-solving competitions on local, state, national and world levels.

Students from kindergarten through college can compete.

Patsy Fegenbush, coach of the Gray Middle School team, said Odyssey teaches kids to think outside the box, a skill that comes in handy in "the real world" when students begin looking for jobs.

"They're looking for people who can think on their feet," she said.

Students also learn to work as a team, as each student brings her or her own talents to tasks that require a variety of them.

Ryle High School's team entered the competition that challenged students to create and present an original and humorous performance that includes a self-centered character and surprise.

While one student came up with the idea, another took the lead on building the set, while another wrote the humorous songs and another designed the costumes.

Ryle came in first place for its division in the event, and Gray Middle School came in first for the event in the Middle School division.

Gray also won first place in an event in which a traveler character stops at three locations in the world, two real and one made up. New Haven Elementary and Immaculate Heart of Mary Schools also participated in that event.

Shirley Mann Elementary placed first in its division for a project that required teams to design, build and test a structure made out of glue and balsa wood that balances and supports weights and fits into a box smaller than the assembled structure.

Mann's team also placed first in an event that challenges students to create a performance in which a character appears to change dramatically in size.

Because this year is the 25th anniversary of Odyssey of the Mind in Kentucky, all teams are invited to participate in the state event on April 14 at Cumberland College.

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