Wins propel 5 area teams to national tourney

Seven teams in total received awards at Saturday’s Statewide Odyssey of the Mind competition. Five local teams of students have placed high enough in Saturday’s Odyssey of the Mind competition to head to the national tournament.

The statewide competition, which tests student’s team work and problem solving skills, was held Saturday at the Pocono Mountain East School District in Swiftwater.

During the competition, teams of students solve a variety of problems to score points. Each problem is scored individually, with the first, second, and third place team receiving awards. Teams which received first or second place awards will go on to compete in the competition’s national tournament, held at Michigan State University from May 22 to 25.

In the problem “The Email Must Go Through,” students were asked to create an original performance centered around sending three e-mails. St. John Neumann Regional Academy received first place, and Loyalsock Schick Elementary received second place in the elementary division.

For the problem “ARTchitecture: The Musical” students penned an original performance. This time, their play had to include a replica of a historical architectural structure. For their work in this category, the Williamsport Area High School team received first place.

In the problem, “Tumble-wood” teams had to design a structure made of only balsa wood sticks and glue. Montgomery Area Elementary School received third place in this category. Montgomery Area High School team received first place in their division, with a structure that supported more than 950 pounds, according to Weber.

“The level of creativity is just amazing because those structures were entirely built out of only balsa wood sticks and glue,” Weber said.

In the problem “It’s How You Look at It,” teams were asked to create an original and funny performance involving two characters who make sense to themselves, but seem to be acting strangely to those around them. Loyalsock Middle School took second in this category, and St. John Neumann Regional Academy took third place in their division.

This year’s competition was particularly difficult, according to Joe Weber, of the competition’s board.

“Though none of the local teams received them, we handed out five Ranatra Fusca Creativity Awards this year. That shows this was an extremely difficult competition, as that award is reserved for teams which show exceptional creativity and quality in their work,” Weber said.