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Donations sought to help fund Odyssey of the Mind Worlds trip

By Staff | Apr 21, 2012

The Mariner High School Odyssey of the Mind team has earned a rare distinction. They are the only Lee County high school team competing in the world finals to be held in Iowa in late May.

Odyssey of the Mind is an organization that promotes creative thinking, teamwork and problem solving skills from the elementary to collegiate level.

The local team placed first in the regional competition, then on to second in the state. Now they need the community’s help to get them to the finals.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Mariner High Principal Brian Mangan. “This group of kids has been competing every since I started as principal here three years ago, and each year they have gotten better, gone farther, and this year they are going to worlds which is incredible.

“I’m hoping the community supports these kids, all the way up to Iowa.”

School officials said that support can be anything from supporting some of their planned upcoming fund raisers, through organizations, businesses or by individuals, or by coming up with your own fun or creative fund-raiser.

“Businesses and organizations could host an event, maybe a night at their business, or a fun event, or sponsor our plant sales and car washes,” said Mariner High science teacher and Odyssey coach Jackie Minich. “We’re also looking for monetary donations, of course, as we are trying to raise $7,000 to help with their expenses.”

So far, they are working The Downtowner Car Wash on Del Prado and Perkins Restaurant on Cape Coral Parkway for car washes. They also are trying to organize a Mother’s Day plant sale.

“The plant sales will take place at schools and we are also contacting businesses to see if our plants can be sold there as well. Businesses are welcome to offer their location.

“We are also doing a garage sale at a private home, location to be announced,” she said.

That is scheduled for Saturday, May 12.

“You can contact the school to donate for that if you’d like,” she said.

As the coach, she said she is also extremely proud of her team, which includes students Brittney Worst, Angela Minich, Kelly Bravard, Monica Amaya and Samantha Martin. Of the Odyssey program itself, she said, “This thing is phenomenal, As a team, they’ve become best friends with each other, they respect each other, and they help each other.”

In the worlds competition, they will use those creative thinking and problem solving skills through teamwork to solve what’s called a Spontaneous Problem. “They don’t know what the question from the judges will be. It could be one of three things – a verbal question or a Verbal Hands-On, where they might have to build something and explain it.”

The third scenario could be Strictly Hands-On, building something.

“And then the second part is called the long-term problem, where they pick from five categories and need to work on that problem, anywhere from vehicle to theatrical to weight-bearing.”

They’re no strangers to vehicle problems.

“To get to worlds ours was a vehicle problem. We made a car that expanded to hold a person.”

It started folded up, then expanded out to eight feet, she said.

“We also needed someone to ride it, and the car was to show emotion. We made it into a big lobster, with a head that was so happy it literally cried tears of joy with real liquid.”

There will be 800 worldwide teams at the competition, an invaluable experience, all officials said.

If you would like to help support the team, call Minich at Mariner High School at 772-3324.