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Whiz Kids of the Week: Loma Alta Takes 2nd Place in Odyssey of the Mind

By Dan Abendschein, March 6, 2011
The elementary school students will advance into the state competition.

A group of kids at the Loma Alta Elementary school got a big win last weekend after they gained second place in an extracurricular problem-solving program called Odyssey of the Mind.

The victory comes with an interesting story, said Sandi Holden, the head of the school's PTA and the mother of one of the participants. Because of delays in counting up scores, the results were released hours later than expected and almost all the team members had left by the time they found out about the win.

In fact, she said, her son Robby was the only member left, which explains the photos on right with him wearing the entire teams' medals (which were later given out to teammates.)

* Whiz Kid's Name (or Group name)

Robby Holden, Shaun Harris, Bobby Dickerson, Aaron Campos, Christopher Bagby, Annabelle Zazueta

* Whiz Kid's Age

The kids are all in 5th grade.

* Whiz Kid's School

Loma Alta Elemtary School

* Whiz Kid's Accomplishment

Placing second in the Odyssey of the Mind contest, squaring off against children from all over Southern California.

* Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness

By winning the second place the Loma Alta students will now get to compete in the state contest, and could continue into national and international contests.

In addition, Holden said, kids at the school have competed in the program annually and this is the first time since she has been involved in it that the kids have moved up to state.

Teacher Kristyn Webster describes the program: "Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program."

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