2017-05-12 / Community

Students fundraising for Odyssey of the Mind trip

Fresh off winning a state championship at the Odyssey of the Mind state championships held at Biddeford High School in April, the fourth and fifth grade team from Holy Cross School in South Portland is getting ready to head to Michigan for a shot at the world championship.

The Odyssey of the Mind 2017 World Finals will be held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, from May 24-27. Hundreds of teams from around the world will offer creative solutions to original problems with teams advancing through the bracket to determine a champion.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program focused on problem solving. Students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Odyssey teams, made up of five to seven students, apply 21st century skills, intellectual curiosity, and assessment techniques to solve a variety of problems. More than 70 Maine schools offer the program.

“The program encourages both independent thinking and collaboration,” said Christine L’Abbé, principal of Holy Cross School. “So often children look to the adults in their lives to solve problems for them. Children can become conditioned to someone else solving their problems and passive in the process. Odyssey of the Mind creates an opportunity in which the adults become observers and the children active learners.”

At Holy Cross, the state championship team is comprised of six girls: Lizzie Merrill, Kaitlyn Foster, Delia Nee, Darion Yunes, Rachel Feeley and Anya Wright. Together, the team has crafted ideas, built props, written scripts and managed the squad’s budget.

“Their dedication has been amazing to watch,” said Sue Hasson, a Holy Cross teacher who is the Odyssey of the Mind program coordinator for the school. “They finished third in the regional competition and became committed to improving their performance in the state championship.”

The next problem for the team to solve is fundraising. The students have organized a bottle drive, a student movie night, and a luncheon to help pay for part of their trip to the world finals.

“The team is also selling gift cards, in $25 increments, to Broadway Gardens in South Portland,” Hasson said. “The team receives a portion of each sale.”

To order gift cards, contact Carol Foster at 653-2906 or cfoster5@maine.rr.com. In addition, interested parties can also contribute to the cause by donating on the team’s GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/HCodysseyofthemind.

“This team has displayed self-discipline, teamwork, and a genuine appreciation for each other,” L’Abbé said. “Encouraging students to grow as young people in a nurturing environment is what Holy Cross School is all about.”

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