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Westfield Students Earn First Place at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

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A team of Westfield students representing Edison Intermediate School achieved the title of World Champion at the 2017 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition held May 24-27 at Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan.

Team members, Hannah Cherry (grade 8), William “Will” Crall (grade 6), Audrey Heber (grade 8), Ian LeWarn (grade 6), Fiona North (grade 6), Amanda Rosenthal (grade 6) and Meredith Rosenthal (grade 8) each worked after school since September, with the guidance of their parent coaches Elin Cherry and Suzanne Rosenthal, preparing for the Northern NJ/Liberty Competition, and then the New Jersey State Competition where they earned First Place. As State Champions they advanced to the World Finals competition. 

Over 850 teams from nearly every US State, and 25 countries, competed in this Creative Problem solving competition. Thousands of Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) teams compete in regional and state competitions to earn the right to compete at World Finals. In 2017 this Westfield Team competed in the Vehicle Problem, in which they had to create three unique vehicles to travel different routes from a multi-level parking garage to a secret meeting place without being stopped. Each vehicle had to initiate an action to evade a character trying to stop them. In addition the team needed to clearly explain a creative reason for the secret meeting, a simulation of what was happening inside of one of the vehicles as it traveled, and a soundtrack to accompany the vehicles. All OotM teams are also scored on the style and spontaneous problem solving. All aspects of the program emphasize team work and creativity.

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Nick Pankiewicz, New Jersey Odyssey of the Mind State Association Director said, “New Jersey had its best night at World Finals in 20 Years, possibly ever.”

Odyssey of the Mind is an international education program, for students from Kindergarten to College. It was founded in New Jersey in 1978. Ootm teams apply their ingenuity to solve a variety of problems.  These range from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives such as building mechanical devices, to challenges such as presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. All teams perform a skit in less than eight minutes to achieve specific problem goals. Teams write scripts, create costumes, build all scenery, and make all props which must be prepared only by the seven students on the team. 

For more information about Odyssey of the Mind, find websites at OdysseyoftheMind.com or njootm.org.  Westfield Odyssey of the Mind is a parent run committee under the Westfield Parent Teacher Council, which in 2017 organized 11 teams in total. For information about Odyssey of the Mind in Westfield, please email WestfieldOdyssey@gmail.com

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