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Wingate hosts creativity battle
High school student teams from across state converge at 'Olympics' of problem-solving.

By Steve Lyttle
State Finals

Area schools represented in today's competition at Wingate University:


Alexander Graham Middle; Ballantyne Elementary; Carmel Middle; Charlotte Latin; Idlewild Elementary; Lake Norman Charter School; Myers Park High; Polo Ridge Elementary; South Charlotte Middle; Trinity Episcopal School; Villa Heights Academic Center.


Cannon School; Mount Pleasant High.


Brawley Middle; Lake Norman High; Troutman Middle.


West Rowan Middle.


Fairview Elementary; Kensington Elementary; Unionville Elementary; Weddington Middle.
Teams of students and adult coaches from across North Carolina will gather today at Wingate University for what one official calls the "Olympics of creative thinking" -- Odyssey of the Mind.

Students will compete in several age divisions in the State Finals, trying to qualify for the World Finals set for May 27-30 at Ames, Iowa.

Eleven teams from eight Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are in the field, along with teams from Mecklenburg County private schools. Other participants are from Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan and Union counties. They qualified for today's competition by winning regional events earlier this year.

"In Odyssey of the Mind, students must use their creative thinking to solve problems," said Dick Raley, director of the competition's Central Region, which includes Mecklenburg County. "Students also gain self-confidence, because they compete in front of judges and spectators.

"One of my team members described it as the Nerd Olympics," said Lee Landes, an eighth-grader at Alexander Graham Middle School and a participant in today's competition. "That might not be entirely true, but there's something to it."

Several CMS students and others from the Charlotte region have reached international competition in past years.

"Odyssey of the Mind helps students adapt to changing situations and to remain tough when there are challenges," CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman said.

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