Odyssey of the Mind: Creative students head to state finals

Delaware Valley will send most teams to the states

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  • Students need to be resourceful to solve tricky problems at Odyssey of the Mind (Photo: Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind: paodyssey.com)



— About 700 local students went head-to-head in the creative problem-solving program Odyssey of the Mind, and now winning teams from 17 area schools will match up against teams from across Pennsylvania in April.

Thirty teams were crowned with first and second place honors in their divisions on March 8 at the Northeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament. Those teams will represent NEPA in the Pennsylvania State Finals, April 12 at Berwick Area High School.

“We have flourished as a region because of the contributions of hundreds of dedicated volunteers who step forward to make this valuable program happen,” said Gloria Rumberger, regional director of NEPA Odyssey of the Mind. “I was amazed at the novel solutions our problem solvers proposed. They still astound me after all these years!”

The Delaware Valley School District in Pike County will send the most teams to states with a total of 15. Luzerne County’s Crestwood School District had four winning teams, and Lackawanna County’s Abington Heights School District had three.

Pocono Mountain West High School hosted the tournament in Pocono Summit for the sixth year in a row. Seven teams from the Pocono Mountain School District will head to State Finals.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a backdrop for this exciting event,” said Elizabeth Robison, superintendent of the Pocono Mountain School District. “We wish all of our participants the best and know that the skills demonstrated will indeed last a lifetime.”

Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg also will send one team to states.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program. Teams of up to seven students receive a "long-term" problem at the beginning of the school year. They must solve their problem in an eight-minute performance within a small budget.

“It’s a fantastic program that pushes children to think outside the box while exercising skills across every academic and artistic discipline,” said Ryan Balton, tournament official and regional public relations director. “The acting, writing, engineering, scenery, costumes — all aspects of the solution are completely original creations of the students.”

This year’s long-term problems ranged from re-creating a performance in a king’s court from history to engineering team-created special effects in a “not-so-haunted” house.

Teams also received a secret "spontaneous" problem the day of competition, which they had to solve on the spot.

Winners at State Finals will compete to advance to World Finals at Michigan State University in May. Nine NEPA teams from advanced to World Finals last year.

At the regional awards ceremony, Delaware Valley High School seniors Kristen DeVillers and Heather Reitmeyer received Gordo’s Gift, a college scholarship presented in memory of past regional co-director Karl Schneck.

The entirely volunteer NEPA Odyssey of the Mind region includes Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

On the Web
NEPA Odyssey of the Mind: www.nepaootm.com

NEPA OotM on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nepaootm

NEPA OotM on Instagram: www.instagram.com/nepaootm

NEPA OotM on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nepaootm

PA Odyssey of the Mind: www.paodyssey.com

Odyssey of the Mind International: www.odysseyofthemind.com

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