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OM participants overcome unique challenge this year

We are always pleased to see local students competing in the annual Odyssey of the Mind competition and to watch as many teams advance from the regional to the state tournament.

Competition day is always — or at least before this year always has been — bustling with activity, with dozens of teams scuttling through the hallways to get to the different challenges, parents filling rooms where skits and creative contests are staged, excitement hanging in the air, along with the hope of qualifying for the next round.

By the end of spring, the select few who survive the Regional and State rounds move onto the World Finals, this year held in Michigan.

Except it wasn’t, due to the coranavirus pandemic. Local youths were lucky enough to experience a traditional Regional competition in early March, before COVID-19 had caused Pennsylvania to shut down.

Crowded hallways filled with excited young minds would not be allowed for the remainder of the school year.

Much like everything else, OM changed. But it didn’t just stop — it adapted with the times.

It went online. Zoom became the vehicle that kept the competition alive, which seems only appropriate for a contest based on creative problem solving.

It also forced a new level of listening and thinking among team members, according to Spring Moore, coach for a team from Curtin Intermediate School that advanced to the World contest and captured a second-place trophy.

We know from covering public meetings using Zoom technology that it’s often difficult to clearly understand other people collaborating from remote locations, so our hats are off to all of the OM participants from the region who managed to stay the course this year with this new challenge.

And our hearty congratulations go out to the team from Curtin for the accomplishment of a second-place World trophy!

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