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Twenty-two student teams from schools in Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties advanced to the state Odyssey of the Mind tournament in Binghamton on April 7 (click here for the full results). They were selected from 94 teams competing in the Region Four Odyssey of the Mind Tournament coordinated by Questar III at Rensselaer City School District.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students of all ages. It encourages students to use their imaginations and to work in teams – skills that will be useful throughout their lives.

On March 10, teams performed creative skits they developed to demonstrate their solutions to open-ended problems without a specific right or wrong answer. Teams were judged on their unique solutions to the problems, as well as their teamwork, creativity, ability to think out of the box.

Two OMER awards were also presented. OMER’s Award recognizes those individuals, coaches, team members, parents, officials and others who, during a tournament, serve as exemplary examples or role models through their actions or words. This award is also bestowed on team members who exhibit exceptional skill and talents. Each recipient of an OMER’s Award receives a special medal. The first went to the Averill Park CSD teams (nominated by judge Liz Brophy) for their dedication and commitment through a very tough season. The students and coaches persevered through a districtywide flu epidemic, sending home 74 students from one school on one day. They had a very short period of time to prepare and become a cohesive team, yet did so wonderfully. The other went to Coach Tina Turriglio for her dedication to coaching, nominated by Tina’s Division II & Division III teams. Tina has been a coach of two teams for the last ten years and she has formed memorable relationships with her team members. They think of her like a mom and value her ability to lighten the mood when things get too serious.  She instills a sense of family in her teams.

Congratulations to the following teams representing our area at the state competition in Binghamton:

Problem 1: Triathlon Travels

On your mark…get set…go! In this problem, teams will ride on and drive original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance. All of the action will take place in a team-created performance that features the vehicles’ triathlon travels, a commentator, and a coach.

  • Scott M. Ellis Elementary School – Division I
  • Tamarac Elementary School – Division I
  • Greenville Middle School – Division II
  • Susan Odell Taylor School – Division II
  • Tamarac Secondary School – Division III
  • Hoosic Valley Jr/Sr High School – Division III

Problem 2: Emoji, Speak for Yourself

Three-dimensional emojis will be used to communicate the life story of a once famous, but now forgotten, emoji. Teams will create a performance where the emojis demonstrate special functions like growing, turning into a team member, and changing into a different emoji. Performances will also include a choreographed dance, a technical representation of texting, and sounds to enhance the performance. The twist? No spoken language is allowed.

  • Rensselaer Park Elementary School – Division I
  • Catskill Elementary School – Division I
  • Knickerbacker Middle School – Division II
  • Hoosic Valley Elementary School – Division II
  • Hoosic Valley Jr/Sr High School – Division III

Problem 3: Classics…Mockumentary! Seriously?

There are often two sides to the same story. In this problem, characters don’t always agree as they recount the classic story where they appeared. The team will select a classic from a list and present different characters in a humorous documentary-style performance where details are added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed. There will be interviews, behind-the-scenes “clips,” and voice-overs that take the audience through the story and help present the events as they “really” took place. Whose side will you be on?

  • Tamarac Elementary School – Division I
  • Germantown Central Upper School – Division II

Problem 4: Animal House

Over the years, Odyssey of the Mind teams have designed structures that changed into many unbelievable shapes and sizes that balanced and held as much weight as possible. This year, teams will turn their balsa wood structures into animals! Since animals need to eat, they must be fed. The structure will have its appearance transformed and explained during an original performance. During the performance, the structure must hold the team-created food while it supports weights.

  • Germantown Central Elementary School – Division I
  • Catskill Middle School – Division II
  • Algonquin Middle School – Division II
  • Averill Park High School – Division III
  • Troy High School – Division III

Problem 5: A Stellar Hangout

In the outreaches of the universe, there is an Intergalactic Hangout where all sorts of creatures from different worlds stop, eat, refuel, and relax. Teams will create a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that includes original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There will also be a worker character, entertainment, and a futuristic map at the hangout.

  • Troy School 18 – Division I
  • Ichabod Crane Elementary/Middle School – Division II
  • Catskill Middle School – Division II
  • Tamarac Secondary School – Division III

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