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Area students learning while preparing for 'Odyssey of the Mind' regional competition

Stephanie Veale
Staff writer

(March 2, 2008) -- Webster was the hub for Saturday's Odyssey of the Mind regional competition, which brought to town 115 teams from five counties.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative thinking and problem-solving competition. Students form teams and choose a problem to solve, from explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs to writing a play to building a structure out of balsa wood. They have all fall and early winter to design their solution or project.

A team of seven girls, all fourth-graders at Rogers Middle School in Irondequoit, were still energized Saturday afternoon from the competition. They had put on a skit for the judges earlier in the day.

According to competition rules, the skit had to center around a muse from Greek mythology. The girls chose Urania, the muse of astronomy and astrology.

All participants have to create their projects without adult assistance, so the girls had to sew their own costumes and design their own set. They also learned teamwork skills.

"Sometimes people don't like ideas, and you have to figure out a way everyone will like them," said Danielle Yeager, 10.

Creating and performing the skit on their own also helped a lot of them gain confidence, said Skye Lonadier, 10.

Ally Van Acker, 10, and Erika Russell, 9, said they had to practice giving up control and trusting their teammates' judgment.

"You can't always be the leader of the group," Ally said.

Between 750 and 800 students took part in Saturday's competition, and dozens will go on to the state competition in Binghamton later this month, said tournament director Julie Ryan of Webster.


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