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School Board Honors ‘Odyssey of the Mind’ Teams

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School Board Honors ‘Odyssey of the Mind’ Teams
Posted on 05/06/2015
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The Portland Board of Public Education and Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk in May honored four Portland Public Schools’ Odyssey of the Mind teams headed to the World Finals later that month.

“It is with great pleasure that I inform you that two teams from Lyman Moore, one from Reiche and another combined Lincoln/King Middle School team have qualified to compete in the national/world-level Odyssey of the Mind competition this month,” Caulk said at the school board’s May 5 meeting.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and world level.

The Lincoln/King team includes Audrey Dufour, Tom Victor, Blake Harrington, Joe Harrington, Will Jorgensen, River Dufour, and Alec Troxell.  The problem they solved this year was called "Run Away Train" and involved creating two types of vehicles: one with internal power and the other powered by the tracks – a conveyor belt.  During the 8-minute performance the vehicles completed five tasks (towing something; going over speed bumps; stopping then starting; going forward and backwards; and going up a hill.

The group’s humorous skit had a Western theme and included music on guitar composed by two team members. They also learn how to made fake glass (candy) bottles that shatter like real glass and incorporated them into the skit for theatrical effect.

A Lyman Moore sixth-grade team won first place in the state tournament in March in “Experiencing Technical Difficulties,” Division II. The team members were Jacob Blades, Mason Beale, Nate Hanscom, Meredith Hunt, Cassidy Hunt, Emma White and Corey Zima.

A Lyman Moore seventh-grade team took second place in the state tournament in “Silent Movie,” Division II. The team members were Emily Bassford, Lorien Fish, Emmalyn Armstrong, Alexis Sprague, Jenavieve Vincent, Sarah Rickett and Savanah Wales.

A Reiche team made up of third- and fourth-graders took second place in their category in the state competition and first place in Maine’s regional competition. The students on that team were Eliza Cadwallader-Stein, Seamus Devon, Oliver Hettenbach, Ruben Hunter, and Charles Shafto.

All the teams have qualified to go on to the Odyssey of the Mind 2015 World Finals, which will take place from May 20 to May 23 at Michigan State University, located in East Lansing, Mich.

The groups are engaged in fundraising. It costs about $1,000 per team member to participate in the world competition, including travel, room and board.