| Troy Record.com |
Odyssey of the Mind tournament in Rensselaer this weekend

RENSSELAER -- The Odyssey of the Mind tournament is here again and promises to be better than ever, according to Arlene Sampson, the tournament's director from Questar III. This year the popular event features 71 teams, involving Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties, and will take place on March 12 at Rensselaer City Schools, 25 Van Rensselaer Drive, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (snow date March 13). Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Students apply their imagination and ingenuity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. "With its largely volunteer structure, the Odyssey of the Mind competition is a very cost effective vehicle for providing all students with an enriched learning experience," said Sampson. "While teamwork is the hallmark of the Odyssey program, each year's varied problems offer opportunities for students to use their own unique skills at the same time they are developing new ones," she added. The competition includes 10 Primary teams with students in kindergarten through second grade, performing in a non-competitive environment. The Primary level is considered to be the foundation for the Odyssey of the Mind program. In addition to the all-day creative problem-solving taking place, Questar III has added three exciting opportunities for participants and audience members. The first is a community service project where adults and students can help "Stars for Our Troops," a project of the local Ladies Auxiliary of Germania Hall of North Troy. The members cut embroidered stars from worn U.S. flags to send with a note to U.S. soldiers stationed around the world. Visitors are invited to bring used flags to donate. There will also be a fun art project ongoing throughout the day in which everyone who attends can add his or her thumbprint to a picture of the Odyssey of the Mind mascot, Omer the raccoon. Sponsors hope to show off this work of art at the awards ceremony at the end of the day. Lastly, a virtual pin design contest will invite everyone at the tournament to vote for one of the three top designs submitted earlier this year by students competing in Odyssey of the Mind. The winner will be recognized at the awards ceremony and his/her design will be featured on the Questar III website and in next year's program. Because so many people are planning to attend, everyone is asked to plan ahead by arranging a carpool, allowing extra time to get there, or to park in satellite parking areas near the school including: Carmela's Banquet House, 301 Washington Ave.; Doane Stuart School, 199 Washington Avenue; or the CDTA Park and Ride at Route 4. Shuttle buses will run every 10 to 20 minutes all day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with these exceptions: 9 to 10 a.m., 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. and 3:10 to 4:10 p.m. when only one bus is running).

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