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PJHS team places at regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament

PORT JERVIS -- Two Port Jervis High School Odyssey of the Mind teams placed second in their respective divisions March 12 at the regional tournament at Orange-Ulster BOCES in Goshen.

One team took second in the "Extreme Mouse Mobiles" division by building six cars that were powered by mousetraps. The vehicles completed six different challenges. Team members Rachael Mercilliott, Aaron Aumick, Ryan Kean, Ariana Laupauti, Tanya Riker-Romano and Rashaad Escamilla were coached by Pauline and Clare Aumick.

The other team, coached by Becky and Keith Murphy, placed second in the "As Good as Goldberg" division by designing a complex machine capable of completing a real-life task. The category is named after Rube Goldberg, whose cartoons depicted complicated devices that performed simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The team members are Heather Tonnessen, Kathleen Mahaney, Marina Bisharam, Carly Northrup, Daniel Murphy and Sarah Bishara.

Port Jervis Middle School was also represented at the tournament. Under the direction of coach Jenny Caiafa, the team competed in the "Le Tour Guide" division. Team members Sarah Caiafa, Autin Wilson, Jessica Parker, Hunter Curreri, Jordan Presto, Shelby Hoovler and James Luckey presented an original performance about an imaginative tour that includes a stop at a team-created location.

An international program that promotes creative problem solving, Odyssey of the Mind challenges students in first through 12th grades to compete in long-term problem solving and spontaneous on-the-spot brainstorming. This year, the regional competition included teams from 20 school districts in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan and Dutchess counties.

"All of the teams were fabulous. The students all worked very hard, and the coaches are extremely proud of them," said Port Jervis High School team coach Pauline Aumick.

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