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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MMC Middle School wins 'Odyssey of the Mind' competition

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

These six MMC Middle School students are working to earn money to go to the World Finals of the "Odyssey of the Mind" Competition. From the left - Aliyah Jackson, Cody Schuck, Maddie Wahl, Quinten Clark, Victoria Kollbaum and Wyatt Rassel. Photo by Nancy Hohbach
MARCUS - Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Middle School students and faculty are quite excited about their first place win at the state level after participating in "Odyssey of the Mind" competition in Ames with schools from around the state.

Six students from grades four through six have been active in the program under the guidance of Ali Vasher. They are Quinten Clark, Aliyah Jackson, Cody Schuck, Maddie Wahl, Victoria Kolbaum and Wyatt Rassel.

The students have been working all year how to attack a problem situation and solve it in a creative manner. At state, they are given a problem on the spot where they will create their own simple and efficient way to complete a real-life task. The team creates their own device that is designed to complete the same task, only this device will use a series of components to get the job done in an indirect and complex way. The team will demonstrate using both devices in a performance that includes an "inventor" character and a marketing "campaign" to convince the public to use the new device.

The creative emphases of this program are on performance, the design of the team-created device, how the inventor character is inspired to "invent" the device and the marketing campaign.

Creative emphasis of this problem is on the performance, the design of the team-created device, how the inventor character is inspired to "invent" the device and the marketing campaign.

The spirit of the problem is for the team to create and present an original performance that includes an existing item that is simple to use to complete a task and a team-creaated device that completes the same task in a more complex way. The performance will also include an inventor character and a marketing campaign.

There is a time limit of eight minutes for each participant group to get the job done. They are scored on various elements such as creativity of the overall performance, quality of performance, demonstration of the existing item, the team created device and style.

The MMC students could not discuss with each other or their sponsor what transpired in the competition room until the prizes were awarded.

"It is tough not to talk about how things went or what the problem was," explained Vasher. "When time arrived for awarding the prizes, MMC was not among them. Then the team noticed that MMC had no points listed on the bulletin board, so I asked what happened that we received no points. The person was astonished we received nothing and went to check on it.

"Then we were told we received third place but the team who received those medals and trophy had already left. So they dug out more to give to us. Then shortly after that, an announcer said for us to return the third place medals. Only then did we learn that we really had won first place. It was so exciting to the kids." said Vasher.

Now these MMC students have a right to go on to the World final which will be held on the University of Maryland campus May 27-31. Last year the students won second place and also advanced to the World finals. There will be 27 countries participating such as China, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Poland and many others. It will be quite an opportunity for these students to travel and meet students from other countries. To be able to be a part of this amazing educational opportunity will be priceless. But it does come at a cost.

There is a goal set to raise enough money to cover the difference in what is not funded by Talented and Gifted program, whether it be room and board on campus, competition fees, and travel expenses for the team. They are hoping to do some exploring of the nation's Capitol. The funds ($2,000) need to be raised by April 29th.

Those interested in supporting the endeavor can drop off or mail donations to the school in care of this program.

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