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Teams make `Odyssey' world finals

Two Cabarrus County teams will be going to the Odyssey of the Mind world finals later this month.

The Cabarrus Rotary Club team placed first at the state tournament in early April and first in the regional tournament.

The team, competing on the middle-school level, will represent North Carolina at the world finals May 31-June 3 on the University of Maryland campus.

And the Mount Pleasant Lions Club college-division team also will represent the state in the world finals.

Odyssey of the Mind provides problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Teams work within a $125 budget, so they learn to manage their money and look for creative ways to solve problems.

Thousands of teams from the U.S. and about two dozen other countries participate.

Members of the Rotary Club team are Robert Baker, Alex Griffin, Hamilton Jones, Keri Roe, Rachel Schmitt, Carlisle Sheridan and Addison White. Four of them competed on the Harris Road Middle School team that advanced to the world finals last year.

"These kids have been working together since October," said coach Darci White of this year's team.

"They spent time brainstorming ways to solve their problem, creating a script, and creating all of their scenery, props and costumes. They did not get any help from anyone."

In this year's state event, the team had to create a performance including a Greek muse and two other characters -- an historical figure and a team-created character.

The Rotary Club team chose Urania, goddess of astronomy and astrology. Their historical person was Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian patent clerk and one of the inventors of the paper clip. The students also created "Cheddar," a mouse that saves the Norwegian Jews during the Nazi era.

Signs of the team's creativity, as described by coach White: A bird's nest made with paper clips, a trashcan fashioned from soda cans, and a 5-foot-tall paper clip made with PVC pipe and papier-mache and covered with hundreds of silver buttons representing Norwegians who protested against the Nazis.

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