| NorthWest Herald |
Teams tops at problem solving

CRYSTAL LAKE -- Four teams of students from Prairie Grove Elementary School placed in a recent Odyssey of the Mind event. Two teams from Parkland Middle School also placed in the event.

The four teams from Prairie Grove competed against 40 teams from Illinois last week at Belleville West High School.

Team "Earth Trek," with students Nina Horabik, Luke Ponga, Joey Russel and Danny Schaschwary, placed first in the problem-solving competition held by Odyssey of the Mind.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program.

Students Emily Jepsen, Reese Jessup, Hope Havenhill, Hudson Havenhill, and Katie Schaschwary on team "Superstition" also earned a first-place finish.

The team "Teach Yer Creature," composed of John Burk, Jenna Koffer, Maddison McMillan, Elizabeth Ponga and Peri Sindberg, came in second place.

And team "Shock Waves" scored a third-place finish. "Shock Waves" team members are Jessie Ahrens, Alexis Clark, Nicholas Hamilton, Benjamin Nippe-Jeakins, Amber Pooran, and Sidney Tidler.

This was the first year that students from Prairie Grove competed in the event.

"Our children performed beyond expectation," program coordinator Heidi Jessup said. "I don't think we ever could have imagined that they would all place so well in their first year and be given such a great opportunity to interact with other students from all over the world."

Three of the teams -- Earth Trek, Superstition, and Teach Yer Creature -- will have a chance to compete on a global stage in May at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Ames, Iowa, according to a news release.

Two teams from Parkland Middle School in McHenry also participated in the Illinois event, coach Jean Benedetto said. The school's veteran "Superstitions" team finished in first place, with members Julie Benedetto, Bailey Harwood, Megan Wiesemann, Danny Springer, Adam Jensen, and Libby Smith.

Parkland's "The Lost Labor of Heracles" team placed second. The team members are Matt Stamos, Samantha Stamos, Derek Rhyner, Emily Kinder, Tucker Jensen, Stephanie Wacaser, and Michael Wacaser.

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