Monday, June 06, 2011

TOP STORY >> Local students among top in ‘Minds’

Special to The Leader

IN SHORT: Elementary team places fourth overall in international competition.

Sherwood Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind educational quiz team placed fourth overall and won first place for style in the international finals at the University of Maryland in College Park on May 25-31.

Sherwood competed against 65 teams from 15 countries.

The team advanced to the finals by winning competitions at the regional and state levels in March and April.

The team created an eight-minute skit called Le’ Tour Guide, which required a long list of elements provided by the judges such as including a tour guide whose character was based on one from classical literature with tourists visiting three locations, two of which had to be real and the third was a mystical place created by the teams.

The teams were also required to include an inanimate object that had to come to life with human characteristics. The contestants were also required to incorporate a guard’s character who is protecting a worthless item. 

The Sherwood team’s tour guide, the Wicked Witch of Waste, mimicked the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz.” The witch, portrayed by fourth grader Madison Carroll, led tourists around to some of the filthiest places on Earth, the mouth of the Hudson River and inside a truck stop’s restroom in Grove Hill, Ala.

The tourists were germs who were hired by the witch to dirty every surface they touched.  The germ characters were E. coli by fourth grader Hannah Malone, rhinovirus by fifth-grader Ben Hall, cryptosporidium by fourth- grader Tyler Aaron, and fungus by third-grader Caleb Morris. 

The team’s setting was the witch’s throne room inside her castle, which was called Throtic-kulareverneverringratporkydoor Estates.  As the germs were being led around to the various places, the witch’s sister, the Queen of Clean, was collecting the witch’s trashy treasures and selling them to buy suds and Lysol to destroy the germs. 

The Queen of Clean, played by fifth grader Jade Denson, was being kept away by a guard, played by fourth grader Lily White.

The students were given the required elements for the skit in September and immediately began building their script, sets, props and costumes. The skit was worth 200 points. 

The team was also judged in style, which rewards teams for their creativity in set design, costuming and props.  Style is worth 50 points.

The third area judged is called spontaneous and is worth 100 points. In the spontaneous category, each team is presented with a problem to solve in a matter of minutes.

As team coach, I believe spontaneous is the most difficult of the three events. Quick and creative thinkers are certainly a must for any successful Odyssey of the Mind team.

I began coaching Odyssey of the Mind teams 13 years ago when my daughter, Holly, was a fifth-grade gifted-and-talented student at Sherwood Elementary.

Holly’s Alpha teacher, Ann Alsup, encouraged me to start coaching a team because she felt like Holly and other gifted and talented students at Sherwood Elementary could benefit from the Odyssey of the Mind program. Once I started coaching I couldn’t stop even when Holly was no longer a student at the school.

I also had another coach helping me this year, Melody Morris, a special education teacher at Sherwood Elementary and the mother of one of the team members. I could never thank her enough for everything she has done to help me this year.

Students, parents, businesses, the school district and residents of Sherwood helped the team attend the competition in Maryland by donating the needed funds.

The team would like to thank everyone who donated because the trip would not have been possible without the donations.