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W.H. Rhodes students place at state contest

Carmen Paige
The ability to think creatively to solve problems got two fourth and fifth grade teams from W.H.Rhodes Elementary School to seventh and tenth place in a state competition.

Rhodes Elementary students, in two teams called the girls and boys Shock Waves, recently competed in Florida's Odyssey of the Mind competition. It is the only school in the district with an Odyssey team.

"We are so proud of their accomplishments at scoring so well in their inaugural year as Odyssey of the Mind teams," said Linda Rushing, team coordinator and guidance counselor.

The Shock Waves embers were: Mary-Cathryn Cavazos, Nikki De La Garza, Ashley Matthews, Diana Redden, Elizabeth Waldrop, Mikaela Worley, Sean Barker, Jadarius Hill, Justin Larson, Chance Shell, Chase Shell and Benjamin Thames. Rushing and Ellen Redden were the coaches.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program created in 1978. Students solve competitive problems like building mechanical devices and balsa wood structures that hold hundreds of pounds.

"If you have a really weak balsa wood structure, it will crash," said Benjamin, 11. "At the regional competition, our boys' structure held 210 pounds."

The students said they have become more creative in their school work.

"I go outside the box," said Mary-Cathryn, 11. "When a teacher asks a question, I give a more creative answer." Solving spontaneous problems helps students think on their feet through verbal, hands-on and verbal/hands-on activities, officials said. They learn there is often more than one way to solve a problem.

"Once you get the hang of it, you just can't quit," said Diana.

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