Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

7 Schools Advance in Academic Contest

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

7 Schools Advance in Academic Contest

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Teams from Fleming Island Elementary and six other Northeast Florida schools will advance to the state tournament of the Odyssey of the Mind academic challenge after winning regional competitions last weekend.

The state event will be April 13 in Orlando.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Teams of five to seven students learn teamwork, brainstorming, self-reliance and respect for individual strengths as they solve problems by pooling their creativity, knowledge and skills. About 250 schools in Florida participate, some of which have multiple teams.

The Fleming Island fifth-graders, the only Clay County team in the Odyssey program's St. Johns River region this year, spent several months preparing for the March 2 regional competition in Jacksonville, in which teams from 10 schools in Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties participated.

The teams had to develop a "theatrical and engineering solution" to a specific Odyssey situation, called a long-term problem, which was presented in the form of a skit to a panel of judges. Also, they had to be prepared to solve so-called "spontaneous" problems, such as thinking up creative descriptions for a piece of construction paper cut in a certain way.

The Fleming Island team won first place in their division for its long-term problem solution.

"Their hard work paid off," said Beverly Hood, who with her husband, Mike, coached the team. "They are all currently on cloud nine."

Members of the team were the Hoods' daughter, Madison, and Staci Beigner, Maxx Fleck, Dana Jackson, Abbi Lambert, Adam Rice and Mike Tanner.

For more information about the Odyssey of the Mind program, call Susan Dienes, director of the St. Johns Region of Florida's Odyssey program, which includes Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. …

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