Keystone Oaks School District News Article

Four Odyssey of the Mind Teams Advance to State Finals

Four of Keystone Oaks School District's Odyssey of the Mind Teams earned first or second place in the recent regional competition and have advanced to the PA State Finals! These teams represented 25 students from Dormont Elementary, Keystone Oaks Middle School & Keystone Oaks High School. 

The team from Dormont Elementary took First Place in Division 1: Problem 2 "Virtual Odyssey." The team was coached by parent volunteer Jennifer Rogers and included student participants Emily Morrow, Grace Luft,  Ava Suwalski, Iris Brownlee, Lillian Gabuzda, Amelia Dulaney, and Afton Rogers. 

The team from Keystone Oaks Middle School took First Place in Division 2: Problem 2 "Virtual Odyssey." The team was coached by parent volunteer Geoff Dobson and included student participants Riley Dobson, Kaybre Donahue, Jillian Stakich, Aura Petraitis, Ava Schlueter, and Michela Robbins. 

In this challenge, Creativity is boundless as teams create a performance that includes a Virtual Reality World. As part of the world, they will design and build various technical effects, which include changing something that is two-dimensional into three-dimensional. During the performance, a character will unknowingly enter the Virtual Reality World where it will encounter a nefarious creature. It will learn the rules of collecting credits in the virtual world as the odyssey progresses. Finally, the character will escape the “clutches” of the creature and earn the last credit that allows it to journey back into the real world. The team will also create a special effect indicating to the judges and audience when the performance goes into virtual reality.

One Keystone Oaks High School team took Second Place in Division 3: Problem 3 "Classics... Omer and the Beanstalk." The team was coached by parent volunteer Brian Cicco and included student participants Emily Cicco, Caroline Burns, Fiona Curran, Katie Cesario, Genevieve Bogdan, and Nora Bosniak. 

In this challenge, storybooks come alive when a special bean grows into a magic “beanstalk” that takes a youngster into a storybook land. There, a creative host will guide them around as they meet different storybook characters and encounter objects from selected stories that exist together in this mystical land. Teams will use ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda to create works of art relating to the stories. A set piece or prop that grows or appears to grow and an original Life Lesson learned by the youngster in storybook land will be part of the performance.

A second Keystone Oaks High School team took First Place Division 1: Problem 1 "Omer the Romer." The team was coached by parent volunteer Joe Finucan and included student participants Robin Cesario, Owen Finucan, Greyson Barsotti, Hannah Charlton, Momoko Munnell, Marlana Howard, and Abby Lyda.

In this challenge, OMers are always looking for new fun — and funny — experiences! Teams will design and build a ride-on vehicle that takes an OMer character on an adventure in search of humor. The vehicle will use stored energy as it is propelled forward and in reverse. At each stop, the vehicle and the OMer will react to something humorous before traveling to the next destination. The humorous performance will also include an unplanned stop where the OMer character takes a selfie, a creative physical representation of the selfie, and a vehicle-produced special effect.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Teams of students apply their creativity to solve a wide-range of problems, from building mechanical devices to presenting interpretations of literary classics, as they compete with teams from other schools. Participating in Odyssey of the Mind has numerous benefits, including developing team-building skills, finding solutions to real-world problems, and utilizing the creative thinking process.

The program is run by parent volunteers. Student teams meet bi-weekly beginning in September to practice and prepare for the performances and competition.

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