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Crestview's Odyssey teams qualify for World Finals

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 2:00 am
By Stacie Nichols

Fourteen students from Crestview Elementary will compete against some of the brightest young minds in the world May 23-27 at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Lansing, Mich.

"I think we'll be really good," said fifth-grader Tori Young who played the part of the villain in her team's problem. "It's really challenging, but fun."

Crestview sent a team last year to compete in the World Finals in Iowa. This year, two Crestview teams qualified for World Finals at the state competition March 10 in Columbia.

The fourth- and fifth-grade team scored second-place overall in the state and the second- and third-grade team scored second in its long-term problem.

Teacher Dani Turner coaches the fourth- and fifth-grade team with the help of computer lab instructor Karen Majors and parent Mary Ludlow. The second- and third-grade team was led by art teacher Sandi Carson.

Students were selected for the teams based on academic ability, creativity, dedication, problem-solving skills and other talents. The teams started the year by choosing a problem. Both teams had to write a script, build a set and design costumes.

The fourth- and fifth-grade team selected, "I'm Only Thinking of You," which required them to write a script that contained a self-centered character. The villain had to take advantage of others three times, while using the phrase "I'm Only Thinking of You." In the end, the villain had to be caught at her own game.

The second- and third-grade team problem, "Around the World in Eight Minutes," required students to write a script in which a traveler stopped at three destinations. The script had to include transportation for the traveler and the reason for traveling. Students created a skunk and a dragon who was trying to get its fire back. The pair finally find a secret ingredient for dragon's fire in "Dragonsburg." The secret ingredient was Texas Pete hot sauce.

Morgan Stewart, a member of the second- and third-grade team said one of the biggest lessons she learned was "to never put my finger in hot glue."

Due to a scoring error, her team didn't learn it had qualified for World Finals until March 17. When the students were finally notified, they were ecstatic.

"We went crazy," Charles Ludlow said.

Joshua Carson added, "I did somersaults."

Both teams had to work through their problems from start to finish without help from their coaches.

Now, coaches must solve a problem of their own: how to come up with funding for the trip.

The trip will cost about $16,000, or $834 per person. Turner said she hopes to get a grant through a teachers' Web site and students are holding fundraisers, but they are counting on community support, as well.

The students are dedicated, Turner said. Fifth-graders voluntarily gave up their class trip to Disney World to attend the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in May.

"These are the kind of kids that you want to hire," Turner said. "They're learning how to tackle things on their own. They will make better leaders, better team leaders."

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