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Hainesport students ready to take on the world

By: Rose Krebs
HAINESPORT -- Two teams of Hainesport School students showed their ingenuity and problem-solving skills in the state Odyssey of the Mind competition last weekend.

The eighth- and seventh-graders with the Talented and Gifted Program won a place at the world competition with their showing at the state level. The eighth-graders finished first, the seventh-graders second. The state competition was held Saturday at Franklin High School in Somerset.

"I'm thrilled," Talented and Gifted teacher Diana Venuto said. "The expressions on their faces were priceless. They were so nervous beforehand. It's just a major accomplishment."

The world competition will be held at Michigan State University in East Lansing from May 26 to May 30. The eighth-graders will forgo their class trip to Williamsburg, Va., scheduled for the same days. They also placed first in the regional competition on March 6 in Ewing. The seventh-graders finished second.

"Worlds is an amazing thing," Venuto said, pointing out that teams from around the country and the world take part. "It's a great experience. I don't even think competing is what makes worlds. It's getting to meet everyone, talk to them and eat lunch together."

In the school's five years of competing in Odyssey of the Mind, one team has made the worlds. In the competition, students are given five problems to choose from and must create a related skit.

The eighth-graders put Snapple drinks "on trial" in the Food Court Division II. The seventh-graders built their own working car using bicycle pedals, a chain and wood.

Also, students are given another problem that they must solve on the spot.

Members of the eighth-grade team are Mary Anne Amper, Julia Guilardi, Summer Haran, Samantha Harris, Michaela Sasso and Samantha Wilbert.

The seventh-graders are Sarah Bresnan, Sebastian Dovi, Becky Evans, Karly Evans, Chris Glasgow, Colin Heminway and Linda Mozdzen.

"I was really surprised and excited (to come in second place)," Sarah said Monday. "It took so many hours (to prepare). Every second we had, we worked on it."

The students have been working on their entries since September. The Talented and Gifted class meets for 45 minutes three times a week.

"I think (worlds is) going to be really cool because there are going to be people from all over the world," Karly Evans said.

Becky Evans, who is not related to Karly, said she also is looking forward to meeting students from other countries and is happy with the team's showing thus far.

"We didn't really think we were going to get this far," Becky said. "It was really surprising (coming in second at the state and regional levels)."

The eighth-graders selected the food "trial" option to take on Snapple's marketing campaign that the "best stuff on Earth" has "just got better."

The seventh-graders' car, entered in the Trail'R Division, could be no larger than 4 feet by 6 feet. It includes a shovel on the front that serves the dual purpose of steering and moving items out of its path during the skit.

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