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Patriot Elementary students gearing up for Odyssey of the Mind

By Staff | Feb 21, 2011

Many people gathered at Chick-fil-A last Thursday night on Pine Island Road to help raise money for the Patriot Elementary School Odyssey of the Mind team of students.
Jessica Conley, coordinator of Odyssey of the Mind, said Chick-fil-A donated 20 percent of its sales that were generated between 5-8 p.m. Thursday night.
“We are hoping to raise money,” she said about the event Thursday night, which brought out a large group of families from the elementary school. She said the money donated will help pay for supplies, along with building material for Odyssey of the Mind.
Odyssey of the Mind began more than 25 years ago to involve kindergarten through college students in creative problem-solving thinking.
She explained that the program began at Patriot Elementary School when it opened four years ago. The school has qualified for state twice.
This year 28 students, who are in grades 1-5, are a part of the program. Conley said they hold auditions for the students to join because they have a limited amount of coaches for the four teams. There are eight coaches, two for each team, which consists of teachers and parents. The students are asked to recite a poem to see how they do presenting something orally, along with giving them something to solve.
Conley said they want kids who “want to think creatively” to become members of Odyssey of the Mind.
She is also a coach for one of the teams, which she said she enjoys because it is neat to see what her team comes up with when working together.
“The kids have to do it all,” she explained. “As a coach it is amazing to see what they come up with.”
The four teams are given different synopses that they have to form a skit for on their own without the guidance of their coach.
The problem synopsis for Full Circle asks the students to create and present a funny performance that demonstrates something that changes in appearance at least three times and then returns to its original appearance and form.
Lauren Witte, a fourth grade student, joined Odyssey of the Mind last year at Patriot Elementary.
She came dressed in costume to Chick-fil-A Thursday night, as she walked from table to table in character from the Full Circle skit she designed with five other team members of Dazzling Divas. Witte said the skit had to include a dance, surprise ending, silly character, serious character, a song and a dance, along with something that changes three times back to its original form.
She said she enjoys being a member because of “how much you have to use your creativity.”
Dreia Vancleve, another fourth grade student who is also a member of the Dazzling Divas, said their skit involves a game show. She said they are currently practicing their skit, along with making props for their scene.
“I like being with my friends,” she said about why she enjoys being in Odyssey of the Mind.
Another synopsis is the primary money maker problem, which entails the students creating and presenting a funny performance about a character who tries to make money from his or her wild ideas. The skit will include the money maker failing at making money three times before another character encourages him or her that their idea is great and to keep trying.
Madelynne Evanik, who is a part of the money maker team, said she enjoys being in Odyssey of the Mind because of her friends.
“You get to be in a play and you get to practice with your friends and see your friends,” the second grade student said.
In another synopsis, As Good as Gold…, Berg has students using an existing item for a simple real life task. The students are also asked to create another device that does the same task.
Joseph Zidek, a third grade student, said his group is trying to crush a can. Every Wednesday before school he said he practices with his six other team members.
“I like doing the plays,” he said why he enjoys Odyssey of the Minds. “I like performing in front of the audience.”
The regional competition will be held at Island Coast High School on March 5 and will include schools from Sarasota to Collier counties.
“Any school that wants to participate can,” Conley said.