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Odyssey group off to Germany

By Amanda Clegg

Hollidaysburg elementary team the only one from United States invited overseas

HOLLIDAYSBURG - A group of Hollidaysburg students is getting ready to wow Germany with their smarts.

An Odyssey of the Mind team from the Foot of Ten Elementary School was the only team from the United States invited to participate in a competition held in Germany March 5 and 6, coach and coordinator Mike Fitch told the Hollidaysburg Area School Board at its meeting Wednesday evening.

"On a scale of one to ten? A million," team member Rachael Angermeier said after school board member Laurie Smith asked the team about its excitement level.

President William Padamonsky praised the students for their achievement and the program.

"It's a great team building kind of opportunity," he said.

Fitch is attempting to build teams in the area back up after restructuring and low participation canceled their regional status for the international competition where students in kindergarten through college use creative thinking to solve problems.

Pennsylvania's Odyssey of the Mind has taken place for 30 years.

Fitch said the region is on track to regain its status in the next few years. Forty teams are needed to qualify as a region. The teams come from different counties.

Area teams currently compete in Moon Township.

Foot of Ten has eight teams, Fitch said. A team has also formed at Frankstown Elementary and the junior high. Allegheny No. 1 and Charles W. Longer elementary schools have shown interest in starting teams.

Fitch said the team made up of seven sixth-graders - Angermeier, Maddison Fitch, Audbrey Forlina, Avery Jones, Mikayla McCord, Kara Sease and Haleigh Zeiders - will stay in the home of a German team.

Parents are paying for the trip but will begin fundraising, parent Phyllis Angermeier said.

The Odyssey of the Mind regional competition is taking place at the same time, but the team headed to Germany will get the chance to place through the competition overseas. Winners of the regional competition move on to state competitions.

The Odyssey of the Mind 2010 World Finals will take place at Michigan State University May 26 to 29.

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Clegg is at 949-7030.

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