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Westfield Students Advance to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Westfield Odyssey of the Mind participants during a break at the States Final on April 12.

Over 30 Westfield elementary and middle school students comprised five teams competing in Division I (Grades 3-5) and Division 2 (Grades 6-8) of the Odyssey of the Mind New Jersey State Finals tournament, held Saturday, April 12, 2013, at Ewing (N.J.) High School. One team took second place honors to earn entry to the creative problem solving competition's World Finals at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Each Odyssey team takes on a "Long Term" problem in one of five categories – mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure or performance – and presents their solution before a panel of judges. In the "Spontaneous" portion of the competition, teams need to use their quick thinking skills to provide on-the-spot solutions to brain teasers that test verbal skills, mechanical skills or both. Students work under the guidance of parent coaches for months to prepare the Long Term presentations, devising working models, building sets and creating costumes within a small budget, as well as writing scripts and rehearsing presentations. Along the way they learn about teamwork, respect, sportsmanship, perseverance and hard work. 

Competing against teams from throughout the Garden State, Westfield "It’s How we Rule” team earned second place honors in its category at the State Finals and will advance to the 35th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition set for May 28-31 in Ames, Iowa, where they will represent New Jersey and compete against teams from across the country and approximately 20 countries. It promises to be an enlightening experience for the students that will give them the opportunity to learn about different cultures and form friendships within the international community.

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The Westfield team will spend the next few weeks honing their presentations, sharpening their skills and fundraising for the trip to the World Finals. A showcase of the Odyssey of the Mind presentations will be held on Wednesday April 23rd, 6-8pm at Edison Intermediate School.  The community is invited to come and find out about this amazing problem competition and to support the Westfield Odyssey of the Mind Program.  Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted.  Fabulous door prizes as well as baked goods will be available. 

For more information about the Westfield Odyssey of the Mind Program, please email


From Edison Intermediate School Elementary Gifted and Talented Program:

Placing 2nd in the Classics Problem “It’s How We Rule”

Coaches Elin Cherry, Suzanne Rosenthal and Diann Gropp-Roth.  

Participants:  Hannah Cherry, Will Crall, Billy Maguire, Amanda Rosenthal, Meredith Rosenthal and Erin Roth.

From Jefferson Elementary School:

Placing 4th in the Performance Problem "Seeing is Believing", Division 1

Coaches Chhaya Edekar and Kinnari Jyotishi 

Participants: Maya Dias, Allison DiFalco, Sayee Edekar, Hannah Everett, Nikhil Jyotishi, Shreya Jyotishi, Joshua Metz

From Franklin Elementary School:

Placing 5th in the Technical Problem "The Not-so-Haunted House", Division 1
Coaches Jill Jeckell and Carmen Mak

Participants: Catherine Orr, Kate Johnson, Vivian Jeckell, Charlie Jeckell, Matthew Swenson, Carsen Sharkey, Grace Klag

From Edison Intermediate School Division 2 (Middle School):

Placing 5th in the Vehicle Problem "Driver's Test", Division 2
Coaches Bernadette Murphy, Gina Totino, Rob Del Pizzo

Participants: Massimo del Pizzo, Gaya Ganesan, Meghan Johnson, Jordan Phillips, and Sophia Vera

Placing 6th in the Performance Problem "Seeing is Believing", Division 2

Coaches Tara McGroddy and Christina Dengler

Participants: Noah Dengler, Kurt Hu, Aidan Kilbourn, Nathan Lam, Paige Busse, Reid Busse, Matthew Guarnuccio

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