Pennridge Central Middle School Students Take First Place
in Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition
A team students at Pennridge Central Middle School took first place in their Division and Problem category at the Southeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind competition, which took place on Saturday, March 4 at Pennsbury High School. The Pennridge team will advance to the State Finals, which will take place in Moon, near Pittsburgh, on April 1.
Odyssey of the Mind, administered by Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI), and often called OM, is a creative problem-solving competition involving students from kindergarten through college. Team members work together at length to solve a “long-term problem” and present their solution -- no longer than eight minutes -- at a competition. They are limited to a budget of $125, which means recycling most materials.
They must also participate in the spontaneous portion of the competition by generating solutions to a problem they have not seen before.
While the long-term problem solution often takes many months to complete and involves various elements of theatrical performance, construction and design, the spontaneous portion occurs the day of the competition.
One of the most important rules in the OM program is that the team works without “outside assistance” from adults. A coach can help the team stay on track, run exercises to develop creative and divergent thinking, encourage teamwork, and help them find training or develop skills, but cannot help with any aspect of their particular solution.
“Coaching is sort of an art form,” laughs LInda Reid, Pennridge team coach. “Supporting the team without telling them what to do, or how, is torture sometimes, but incredibly rewarding. I’m so proud of these amazing kids.”
The Pennridge OM team members are eighth graders Alyssa Anderson,Gavin Kuebler, Carly Levy, Ashton Muhlig and Thomas Reid, and seventh grader Brooke Detweiler.
A second team from Penn Central also competed at the regional contest. Sixth graders Jed Barr, Sydney Detweiler, Bennett Hansbarger, Nicky Reid, Robin Reid and Kira Shukla, coached by Josh Detweiler and Melissa Shukla, took third place in their Division and Problem category but will not advance to State Finals.
“We are extremely proud of both Odyssey of the Mind teams from Central,” noted Principal Chris Temchatin. "Some of the students have been involved for a few years, and the maturity and creativity evident in their solution to this year’s chosen problem was a result of hard work and a commitment to honing their skills. Each team member contributed in their own unique way. The combination of valuable lifelong skills developed in this program are impressive, and it’s rare to find them all in one place.”
Pennridge families interested in participating in the Odyssey of the Mind program can visit www.paodysseyofthemind.com and are welcome to contact Linda Reid at email@example.com.