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Pine-Richland Odyssey of the Mind teams are moving on to the state finals

Two Pine-Richland student Odyssey of the Mind teams qualified for the state finals following the Western Regional competition on March 2 at Keystone Oaks High School.

Two Pine-Richland student Odyssey of the Mind teams earned spots in the state finals after the Western Regional competition on March 2 at Keystone Oaks High School.

The seventh-grade team at Pine-Richland Middle School will go to Swiftwater, Monroe County, to compete on April 6 with parent coach Amy Gliptis and sponsor Kathy Deal. The team members include Sophia Cosgrove, Katie Gliptis, Ellie Kaufman, Ovini Liyanage, Lydia O’Leary, and Violet Zappas.

A STEAM Studio team consisting of five Pine-Richland High School students — seniors Nicolai Ezolt, Mia Tucciarone, Connor Foote and Michael Lattari, and junior Jillian Uzelac — achieved first place in their age division and will also travel to Swiftwater for the April competition.

The high school team also received the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award, the highest award in Odyssey of the Mind, for outstanding creative thinking. Sarah Ezolt is the team's coach.

Leading up to the regional event, teams spent five months working on a long-term problem and preparing an eight-minute presentation for the competition. They also had to solve a problem on the spot at the competition, and were judged on their long-term problem solution, presentation style, and their solution to the spontaneous problem.

The seventh-grade team at the middle school created a presentation to solve the long-term problem “Opening Night Antics,” dealing with issues like actors forgetting lines, unexpected backdrop falls, and more.

The team showed how to continue the show and acted out the opening night of an original play based on the theme of a classic story. The main focus of the problem was on the performance, presentation of the classic story theme, set malfunction, unexpected sound effects, team-created antics, and a theater critic character.

The high school team was given the same problem and had to write a skit depicting opening night of a play in front of a live audience, including a set malfunction and other issues causing the play to go wrong. The team members wrote a musical for their skit with original music and lyrics.

The Odyssey of the Mind program encourages creativity by challenging teams to solve differing problems. Through team brainstorming and role playing, participants learn teamwork, appreciation and understanding of others, and the power of group thinking over individual thought.

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