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La Vernia Odyssey team prepares for world competition

La Vernia Odyssey team prepares for world competition
The La Vernia Junior High School Problem 5: To Be Continued é A Superhero Cliffhanger team World Finalists are (from left) Kendalyn Bay, Madison Sarsfield, Kailey McCloskey, Zowie Gaylor, Kynzlie Gaylor, Ella Hubert, Austin Bean, and coach Amie Gaylor, a teacher at La Vernia Primary School.

A team of La Vernia students will represent its hometown this month on the world stage, as the members prepare for Odyssey of the Mind world competition.

The La Vernia Junior High School team, solving Problem 5: To Be Continued é A SuperHero Cliffhanger team, is coached by La Vernia Primary School teacher Amie Gaylor and includes fourth-grader Ella Hubert; fifth-graders Kendalyn Bay and Zowie Gaylor; sixth-graders Madison Sarsfield, Kailey McCloskey, and Austin Bean; and kindergartner Kynzlie Gaylor.

Four La Vernia teams participated in the regional tournament March 4 at East Central’s Legacy Middle School ...a high school team, two junior high teams, and one intermediate team. All four teams earned a spot at the state tournament April 8 at Waller High School in Houston, to compete against the top teams in Texas.

At state, only the top two teams earn a chance to compete at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Michigan State University. The most diverse La Vernia Odyssey team, La Vernia Jr. High Problem 5: To Be Continued é A SuperHero Cliffhanger Division II with students ranging from kindergarten to junior high grades, earned second place out of 12 teams at the state tournament. They’re now off to the World Finals May 24-28!

Not only did this team earn second place and secure a spot at the World Finals against teams from all over the world, but the members also received a special award, called a Ranatra Fusca. This award, named for the water strider insect, promotes and recognizes exceptional creativity. It represents the essence of the Odyssey of the Mind program. The Ranatra Fusca Award is given to teams or individuals who display tremendous creativity at competition, and is only given to a handful of teams each year. This is quite an honor!

This award serves as an incentive for risk-taking and out-of-the-box thinking for Odyssey participants. The La Vernia Junior High Problem 5: To Be Continued é A SuperHero Cliffhanger team was awarded for their outstanding creativity, resourcefulness, and teamwork within their performance.

The team created a waterfall made entirely of bottle caps that could roll up to create the effect of a drought, and roll back down to present a flowing waterfall; they also created a realistic Tyrannosaurus rex fossil made completely out of recycled toilet paper rolls, with a milk carton for the head.

Team members also employed unique and resourceful ideas to create their costumes, and a humorous skit.

The team is grateful for the help from students and teachers at their campuses to recycle different items for them, along with the support of La Vernia ISD, and the generosity of community members who helped them fundraise throughout the year to help fund their trip to the World Competition in May.

Team members are looking forward to trading pins with and watching teams compete from across the United States, as well as Japan, China, and Poland, and other teams from around the world. They love to see how other teams use interesting ideas and unusual recycled items to complete their solutions.

Their main goal at World Finals is to earn a first, second, or third place, to earn international recognition and bring home a gigantic Odyssey of the Mind trophy!

Congratulations to these amazing students and their coach!

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential. Odyssey of the Mind proves that students can have fun while they learn.

Visit odysseyofthemind.com to learn more.

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