Two Odyssey of the Mind teams from Pine Bush are advancing to the world finals.
The teams from Crispell Middle School, coached by Stacey Mark, and EJ Russell Elementary School, coached by Naomi Bush and Doreen Sandor, took first place in their respective divisions to advance to the world finals in Michigan in May.
“It is so great that they are experiencing this success,” said Crispell coach Stacey Mark of her team of seven young women. “They’re a great group. They’ve become best of friends, are hard-working and they have very busy lives, and that’s before the hours of practice we put in every week.”
“We are very proud of our EJR Odyssey of the Mind team,” said co-coach Naomi Bush. “It is amazing to see this team use and develop their creative, technology, engineering, mathematical, art, music, writing, teamwork, carpentry and leadership skills to achieve their goals.”
What exactly is Odyssey of the Mind? It’s not easy to describe. It’s been around for 40 years, challenging students in every grade from kindergarten through high school to solve long-term problems as well as short-term ones. Odyssey teams choose their problem and then spend weeks or months to develop their solution. The program encourages creativity, problem solving and teamwork.
At competitions, teams are also tasked with spontaneous problems where there is little time to plan. These problems help develop quick thinking and the ability to deal with the unexpected.
Crispell took the top prize in the middle school division for the problem, Structure Toss. EJR was tops for Structure Toss in the elementary division.
The Crispell team members are: Rebecca Magnetico, Meryl Palinkas, Nina Camacho, Jenna Hopmayer, Taylor Vero, Jessie Sheeley and Maya Oakes.
The members of the EJ Russell team are: Leah Germano, Alanah Giannini, McKayla Hundley, Dominic Licardi, Alyssa Magsamen, Jake Thompson and Kara Wittenberg.
Pine Bush had three additional teams compete in Binghamton on March 23. The Pine Bush High School team coached by Bobbi Walter and Gary Manheim, finished in third place, while the Pine Bush High School team coached by Katie Terwilliger placed fourth. Pine Bush Elementary School’s team, coached by Valerie Turcotte and Jacki Halpin, placed fourth in its division.
“I want to congratulate all of our Odyssey of the Mind teams who worked so hard and represented our district with pride,” said Tim Mains, superintendent of schools. “I am thrilled that Pine Bush will have two teams at the world competition in May. We are all rooting for you Crispell and EJR.”
Now, the Crispell and EJ Russell teams look toward taking on the world! They will compete at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan from May 22 to 25.