Education

South Plainfield Hosts Regional 2017 Odyssey of the Mind Tournament; High School Team Advances to State Finals

65bf0992759386da9c55_20170304_110543.jpg
South Plainfield Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team members Bill Luo, Rohan Gupta, Abzari Rashid, Rajan Balkarran, Ashley Bloodgood and Nidhi Patel.
d152e7bc46c7d3208e5c_image1.jpg
Ashley Olson, Jessica Dugtong, Abigail Lapp, Cassidy Leonardis, Colin Farrell Credits: Cheryl Leonardis
96f109a0e0f8e172f83a_image2.jpg
Credits: Cheryl Leonardis
8e691705f4b51d5a4442_image3.jpg
Credits: Cheryl Leonardis
65bf0992759386da9c55_20170304_110543.jpg

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield High School (SPHS) served as the host site of the 2017 Liberty Regional Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) Tournament on March 4.

This year, over 80 teams from throughout the state competed in the academic event, with South Plainfield Middle and High Schools represented in four competitions. Additionally, the team from SPHS placed third and will go on to compete at the state level next month.

Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) is part of an international educational program that provides creative problem solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their ingenuity and creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Students then bring their solutions to competition, beginning at the regional level.

Sign Up for E-News

This year, the six-member team from SPHS placed third out of eight teams in the regional competition’s 'Super Hero Cliff Hanger' category and will go on to compete at the state level April 8 in Ewing, NJ. The team, which is coached by SPHS science teachers Angela Green and Kathleen Benton, includes ninth graders Colin Farrell and Abigail Lapp along with tenth graders Cassidy Leonardis, Jessica Dugtong, Ashley Olson, and Lynda Farinella.

“This is only out second year competing at the high school level so this is quite an accomplishment,” said Green. “The team put a lot of work in since September and has been practicing four days a week after school since January.”

In South Plainfield, OotM begins in seventh grade and, this year, two teams representing South Plainfield Middle School (SPMS) made their debut in the competition. Although neither was selected to move on to the state finals, coach Jillian Tortora, gifted and talented teacher for SPMS, said she is hopeful next year will have different results.

“The kids are already excited about preparing for next year,” said Tortora. “With one competition behind them, they now know what they need to improve.”

The SPMS Division II Team, which placed sixth in the ‘Catch Is If You Can’ vehicle problem, includes seventh graders Rajan Balkarran, Ashley Bloodgood, Rohan Gupta, Bill Luo, Nidhi Patel, and Abzari Rashid. Additionally, the second team, which placed 13th in the ‘Classics… It’s Time, OMER,’ problem, included Colin Campos, Gillian Delacruz, Sara DeSimone, Anisha Goel, Trisha Gullapudi, Roshan Kenath, and Andria Waithe.

Following this year’s event, an awards program was held in the SPHS gym with the top three teams in each problem and division selected to move onto the state competition taking place April 8 in Ewing. Additionally, a trophy was awarded to each advancing team with the respective members earning medals.

Edison School District qualified 10 teams from J.P. Stevens, four from John Adams Middle School, two from Martin Luther King Elementary, and two from Woodrow Wilson Middle School to move forward to the state competition. Other local towns who had qualifiers include Perth Amboy, Westfield, Sayreville, and Millburn.

Additionally, the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award, which is presented to individuals or teams who exhibit exceptional creativity – either through some aspect of their problem, solution, or for an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution, was given to Thomas Jefferson School in Rockaway, NJ.

For a full list of the 2017 Liberty Regional Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) Tournament winners, visit www.njootm.org.

“It is really awesome that South Plainfield offered its facilities to Odyssey of the Mind,” said Jonathan Evans, who coaches three OotM teams at the Union Middle School in Rutherford. “Everyone here did a great job in making all of the kids feel confident and welcome.”

Veteran coach Keith Thomas of Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Edison added, “It is good to see such strong educational programs representing Middlesex County in this competition. It definitely shows the high caliber of teaching that is occurring in Central Jersey.”

About Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) competitions are sponsored by New Jersey-based Creativity Unlimited and, each year, thousands of teams throughout the United States and 25 countries worldwide participate in the annual competition. Students select a problem to work on early in the school year and spend long hours preparing for the regional, first round competition.

Coaches oversee students during the planning and rehearsing stages, but it is up to the students to do all of the work that goes into the actual competition. Students must write their own scripts, build sets, and make their own costumes. Additionally, budgets for each problem must remain within a $125 to $145 range, depending on the competition, and, to ensure costs do not exceed the allotted amount, students must be extremely creative in the planning and designing stages.

Aside from the long-term problem that students prepare for during the school year, each team must compete in a Spontaneous Problem through which they are presented with either a verbal brainstorming challenge, a non-verbal manipulative task, or combination of the two. This problem challenges their fluency, flexibility, and originality – three of the components of creative thinking – and does not permit students to reveal the nature of their spontaneous problem to anyone, including coaches, after having competed.

This year, teams competing in the Liberty Regional contest took on problems such as designing, building, and running vehicles; designing, building, and operating original robots that demonstrate human characteristics when performing tasks; and building structures out of balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. There are performance problems as well, including a super hero cliffhanger and a performance about a group that time traveled and had an opportunity to meet great artists throughout time.

For additional information, visit https://www.odysseyofthemind.com/p/.

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

Obituaries

South Plainfield – John T. Felz, Jr., 71, passed away at his home on Thursday, June 14, ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

South Plainfield Special Athletes Have Great Showing in This Year's State Games

June 22, 2018

Tyler is one of many athletes from South Plainfield who competed in this year's State Games, held at the college of New Jersey. This was Tyler's third year competing, but the first year where Tyler won a gold medal in, in both the long jump and mini javelin. We are proud of all the athletes who represented South Plainfield and the coaching staff.

Community Happenings

Mayor, Council Proclaim 'Amateur Radio Week’ in the Borough of South Plainfield

June 22, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ- At a June 18 meeting, South Plainfield Mayor Matt Anesh and the Borough Council proclaimed June 17 through June 23 as ‘Amateur Radio Week’ and asked all residents to extend their appreciation and respect to the community’s  amateur radio operators.

South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club (SPARC) will be participating in the American Radio Relay ...

South Plainfield Elks Honor Students of the Month

June 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Tuesday, June 12, the South Plainfield Elks honored the winners of the Grant School Character Education Monthly Pillars.  The students and their families were treated to a pasta dinner cooked and served by the Elks Youth Activities Committee and the students were given Junior Citizen of the Month Certificates.

The winners were as follows: 

Caring – ...

Holy Savior Academy’s Championship Cheerleaders Seek Funds for New Equipment

June 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Holy Savior Academy Cheerleading Squad has kicked off a fundraiser to generate $5,500 for the purchase of much-needed equipment, such as new tumble mats, sound equipment, and more for the award-winning squad.

“The group of twelve girls range from 1st through 4th grades,” said parent Marybeth Parache, who is heading up efforts to raise funds.  ...

Wrestling Ring Presentation

June 20, 2018

The South Plainfield High School Wrestling Team,  who have earned the title of “Three Peat Champs”,  received their State rings on Sunday, June 10, 2018.  Presentation of the rings an plaques were given by SPHS Wrestling Coach Pavlack an assistant coaches.   Funding  for the rings were donated by the South Plainfield Wrestling Club,  who has been one of ...

Inclusive Playground Ribbon Cutting Tonight - June 20

Nixle Alert - Official ribbon cutting at 6:30 om tonight to open inclusive playground at Willow Park.  All are invited to attend, A special storytime will follow.

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_0261cd4c5700fd63e54b_spb-4937_newsletter_june_24

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Carousel_image_ba23f8d0d41677854e89_spb-4937_newsletter_june_26

Tue, June 26, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_5b249c4a7e6808d9d7bb_spb-4937_newsletter_june_27

Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_295f5001319d0d50ecf4_spb-4937_newsletter_june_28

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_294da35e9b80010760c4_spb-4962_newsletter_july_6

Fri, July 6, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Road Warriors vs. Somerset Patriots

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports

Columns

Weinberg, Diegnan Bill to Establish University-Based Consortium on Media Innovation Advances

TRENTON –A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan that would establish a state university-based consortium to advance research in the field of media and technology was passed from the Senate Higher Education Committee today.

“The state’s traditional newspaper market has been upended by changes in ...

South Plainfield and SP BOE Working Together to Strengthen School Security

South Plainfield, NJ - On Monday evening the Borough Council hired two new police officers. These hiring’s will allow two additional police officers to be stationed at South Plainfield Public Schools and will supplement the already strong security measures enacted by the Board of Education and the South Plainfield Police.

The hired officers are part of an interlocal agreement ...

Bookmarks

The South Plainfield Public Library will be open this Sunday, June 24 from 1:30 PM – 5 PM.  This is the last Sunday the library will be open until September.  During July and August, the library will be closed on Sundays, but the rest of the hours during the week will remain the same.

Come join us Monday, June 25 at 6:30 PM for Monday Night Movies.  The selection this week ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Ends Its Year with a Big Banquet

Our country has a long and rich history of service clubs contributing to the growth of their communities but there have been signs in the past two decades that interest in these groups is waning.  Not so at Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield.  Thanks to the efforts of Membership Chair Grace Bertucci, this past year seven new members joined this relatively small group of ...

Press Releases

SPARC RECEIVES PROCLAMATION & GETS READY FOR ARRL ANNUAL FIELD DAY

June 22, 2018

SPARC RECEIVES PROCLAMATION & GETS READY FOR ARRL ANNUAL FIELD DAY

The Borough of South Plainfield has issued the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club(SPARC) a Proclamation at Borough Hall, on June 18,2018 at 7 PM.

The Proclamation is honoring the annual ARRL Amateur Radio Week, June 18th through June 24th and the amateur radio operators nationwide for their public service to the ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...