2012-04-19 / Entertainment

Odyssey Of The Mind Students Place Fifth In Competition


Pictured, back row: Bryan Guyer, Sara Beth Winegardner, Ashton Doyle, Brandi Welsh, Andrew Smith and Denise Mellott; front row: Larkin Shearer. Pictured, back row: Bryan Guyer, Sara Beth Winegardner, Ashton Doyle, Brandi Welsh, Andrew Smith and Denise Mellott; front row: Larkin Shearer. McConnellsburg High School Odyssey of the Mind team Andrew Smith, Brandi Welsh, Bryan Guyer, Sara Beth Winegardner, Larkin Shearer and Ashton Doyle competed on Saturday, April 14, at the Pocono Mountain East Campus, Swiftwater, Pa., in the statewide tournament.

The team placed fifth in the entire state for its problem and division. Pennsylvania currently has more than 14,000 students participating in the Odyssey of the Mind Program.

During their Division III Odyssey Angels competition, the team created a performance about a group of students who travel by ship encountering negative situations, such as a sea captain with scurvy and a magician in a bubble, that the Angels turned into positive situations. Competing at the state level against 12 teams from schools from all over the state was challenging, but the team impressed the judges with its script, acting skills, outstanding costumes and stage props to place fifth. The team is coached by teacher Denise Mellott. Teams are scored on the long-term problem, style elements – such as characters’ costumes, and a spontaneous problem. For the spontaneous problem, the teams are given a verbal, hands-on, or verbal/hands-on problem and they have a short time to work together to come up with a creative solution that impresses the judges.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition based on the belief that the mind, like the body, can be trained through practice and exercise to reach its fullest potential. Participation requires dedication and diligence, but it is also a fun-filled and rewarding experience. Students learn that teamwork is essential and that risk-taking is valued when striving for excellence. The McConnellsburg team use teamwork and risk- taking and these skills not only aided them in the competition, but will be real-life skills they will continue to employ in high school, college, and in their future careers.

The McConnellsburg team was awarded the prestigious Ranatra Fusca Award during its regional tournament, making it the first team in the history of Odyssey of the Mind at McConnellsburg High School to receive this honor. Placing fifth in the state competition, for its division, is also a first for the school. This team works extremely well together and is constantly coming up with creative ideas to design and solve the Odyssey problem. They are truly a “Dream Team.” This team epitomizes the true spirit of Odyssey.

Lin Henry and Linda Heuston served as volunteers judges for the tournament; Dana Shearer made T-shirts, Jeff and Julie Shearer and an anonymous couple took care of supper.

A quote found in the tournament program stated, “A Mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.” – Anonymous.– This is truly what Odyssey of the Mind is all about.

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