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Local teens win state Odyssey of Mind

Homeschool students now eligible for World Finals in Maryland

A team from Collin County Homeschoolers Sharing Adventures in Learning (SAIL) took first place at the state finals of the Odyssey of the Mind competition in Houston on April 5.

The team included Andrew Medlin-Dees of McKinney and Alex Rich of Anna. Coaches were Kristen Cunningham of Anna and Suzan Dees of McKinney. The other four team members were from Plano.

Hundreds of teams from across the nation and 25 other countries participate annually in this creative problem-solving competition. The local team from SAIL, consisting of homeschooled youth between ages 14 and 17, received the top scores in the state for their division in all three scoring categories. The team has been invited to compete in the World Finals in May at the University of Maryland in College Park.

SAIL is a support group and social network for the growing number of families that home school their children in the Collin County area. Since the group formed in the summer of 2006, SAIL membership has grown to 100 families representing more than 200 children. In addition to providing ongoing social and education activities for kids and teens, this organization makes it possible for area homeschooled children to participate in educational competitions normally reserved for those attending public and private schools.

Winning a large state competition and being invited to attend the World Finals is a major accomplishment, but the cost to attend the finals is high. In less than two months, the SAIL team must raise funds to cover airfare, room and board, entry fees, and performance materials transportation - roughly $12,000.

This task would be daunting to most kids, but the SAIL team looks at is as just another creative problem-solving task. With a can-do attitude, the team is reaching out to area businesses and individuals to help them accomplish their goal.

To make a contribution of money, items, or time or to learn about their journey to the World Finals, visit the www.SAILHomeschoolers.org/odyssey2008.html or call Mary Arme at 214-684-6025.

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