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Students qualify to compete; Odyssey finals will take place at University of Maryland

They've got the worlds by the tail.

A team of senior students from LCCVI qualified Saturday to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind world finals at the University of Maryland.

"The kids are really pumped about going," said coach Lee Highgate. Odyssey of the Mind teams from LCCIV have qualified several times before for the world finals, but have not been able to get there.

This year, the team heads to Maryland on May 31 and will compete with hundreds of others from around the world.

"We don't expect to win but it will be a great experience," Highgate said. "The calibre is very, very high."

The LCCVI team consists of Tiffany White, Steele Roddick, Adam Walsh, Carol Tanner, Alyssa Kelly and Katherine Highgate.

They earned high scores for their teamwork at the provincial qualifiers, which were hosted by LCCVI this weekend.

Thirty-five elementary and high school teams competed from across Ontario, including six from Sarnia-Lambton.

Each was challenged to solve a problem such as what caused the extinction of dinosaurs and present their theories with a sense of humour.

It's an exercise in critical thinking, teamwork, creativity and problem solving," said organizer Judy Nannini.

"It celebrates thinking and that's refreshing."

While LCCVI placed first, North Lambton in Forest scored second-highest overall.

North Lambton's presentation about the demise of the dinosaur population had the entire audience laughing. It illustrated strong writing skills, ingenuity in costume and scenery production as well as a commitment to teamwork.

"It took a lot to do this, a lot of time and a lot of delegating," said Grade 12 student Jarret Vankessel.

"It was hours and hours of work," agreed Eileen Watson. "None of us are drama students."

Teammate Matt Stewardson was responsible for a model to go along with the eight-minute presentation, He incorporated hydraulics to make a model dinosaur move and bring a boulder down from a mountain made of foam insulation.

Other members of the North Lambton team included Ian Maw, Luke "The Champion" Teeple, Samantha James and Joey "The Dominator" Vansteenkiste. Their coach was teacher Jasna Sivell.

About 250 competitors, their parents and 50 judges converged in Petrolia for the annual Odyssey of the Mind provincial tournament, an event that's been ongoing in Ontario for 30 years.

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