| The Press Enterprise |
Inland students flex brains in competition

Two teams of creative minds from Belvedere Elementary School and San Gorgonio High School will be contestants in the world finals of the Odyssey of the Mind competition in May.

The four-day event will be in Ames, Iowa, May 27-30.

The team from San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino won first place in the "Teach Yer Creature" competition at the regional finals April 4 in Brentwood, in Northern California. Belvedere Elementary in Highland took first place in the Earth Trek competition.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international education program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students in kindergarten through college. Challenges range from building a mechanical device to interpreting a literary classic.

Jana Jolliff, an algebra teacher, is the Odyssey coach at San Gorgonio High School. This year, she had a team of six female students, from freshman to seniors, who created a robot toucan.

The team was required to teach the robotic bird six actions, including shaking its head to indicate no, swallowing a seed and knocking over a bucket.

They used a baby swing, an oscillating fan, a blow dryer and an electric mixer to create their toucan.

"I was very impressed with how driven they were and the teamwork they showed," Jolliff said.

Melisa Harnitchek and her co-coach Marylin Knuckey at Belvedere guided a team of seven fourth- and fifth-graders to their first-place win.

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