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Odyssey of the Mind tournament Today at OFA


Odyssey of the Mind students from five local school districts will gather today to put their problem-solving skills to the test in the George Hall Auditorium at Ogdensburg Free Academy.

Twenty-one teams of students in kindergarten through 12th grade from Ogdensburg, Madrid-Waddington, Gouverneur, Brasher Falls, and Saranac Lake will have eight minutes each to present their solutions to problems in the “long-term” portion of the competition, according to Gregory K. Downey, Region 8 Odyssey of the Mind director.

“Odyssey of the Mind teaches students about team building, brainstorming, and coming to a consensus to solve problems,” Mr. Downey said, adding that solutions to the problems will be displayed in the form of skits performed by participating teams. There is also a “spontaneous problem solving” portion of today’s competition.

“Students won’t know anything about these problems until they get to the competition. They’ll have to think on their feet to solve problems they haven’t seen, in a short amount of time,” he said.

The Odyssey of the Mind curriculum is geared to address state education standards across the content areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies “in a more informal, non-classroom sort of way,” according to Mr. Downey.

“Being able to problem solve as a team is certainly something employers like,” he said, calling the work and creativity displayed by Odyssey students “phenomenal.”

Mr. Downey should know. He and his wife, Cindy L., have been involved with Odyssey of the Mind for the past 20 years as coaches, judges and now, as Region 8 directors.

The pair currently serves as co-advisors for the city school district’s OM program.

“Even at the second- and third-grade levels, and given limitations and a long-term problem, it’s amazing to see what they come up with. You’ll be blown away by what these kids do, even at the younger age levels,” he said, calling financing the program “a drop in the bucket,” within the school budget.

“You get a pretty good bang for your buck with Odyssey of the Mind,” Mr. Downey said.

Opening ceremonies will occur at 8:30 a.m., with competition to begin at 9 a.m.

Closing ceremonies will be held at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Four Ogdensburg teams, coached by Laurie Zweifel, Amanda Sharlow, Theresa Lalonde, Matthew Shaver, Rima Maroney, Kimberly Scharff-Snider, Kara Dutch, and Jill Lovely, respectively, will be involved.

City students participating include sophomores Nabiha Qudsi and Jacob Skaggs, and freshmen Ryan Bouchard, Zachary Ashley, Alexis Trimm, Laken Kelly, and Jennie Dalton; also, eighth-graders, Austin Lalonde, Ruthanne Middlemiss, Nolan Rishe, Sarah Mitchell, Shianne Bouchey, Dominick Bouchard, and Zadrian Lesperance.

Sixth-grade Odyssey students are Maria Pelusi, Jordan Snyder, Payton LaRock, Jocelyn Lovely, and Annalese Dutch, and fourth-graders include Noelle Dutch and Nevaeh Lockwood.

Representing the third grade will be Paige Shaver, Campbell Lawrence, Paige Merz, Kaydence Ripa, Emma LaBeau, Ellie Foster, and Abby Dishaw.

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