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Creative tradition

Ivy Ong-Wood

Creative secondary school certainly lives up to its name. Its students won the recent Hong Kong Odyssey of the Mind, or OotM, championships. The school has been taking part since it was founded in 2006 and this is its first win - its first two wins, in fact, as its team topped both the prepared and spontaneous problem- solving sections of the contest.

OotM is an international educational program that provides creative problem- solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Teams have to solve problems ranging from building mechanical devices to reinterpreting literary classics.

This year, the title of the long-term problem was "Teach Yer Creature." Students had to stage a funny performance about a mechanical creature that acts like a real mammal and learns lessons. The teams were also required to compete in solving a spontaneous problem under time pressure.

Principal Cheung Siu-ming said: "To achieve such a good result against seasoned opposition from other schools, many with 10 years' experience of competition, is a very encouraging accomplishment for our team."

Now they will go on to represent Hong Kong at the OotM world finals to be held in Iowa State University from May 25 to June 1. They face stiff competition: around 50 to 60 teams from all over the world compete in the finals every year.

Many of the winning team members graduated from Creative Primary School, where OotM teams have won their respective section of the championship five times in the past 10 years and came in among the top five in the world finals three times.

Said team captain Michael Chiang Chi-hang, a Secondary Two student: "Winning the championship and representing Hong Kong is a great honor but we are somewhat apprehensive about going abroad and compete with teams from traditionally creative countries like the US, Germany, Japan and the UK.

"However, with a strong tradition and the excellent track record set by our primary-school teams in the past, I think we are all prepared to give it a good try."

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