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Spectators, volunteers invited to go on Odyssey
Students from across Yuma County will be showing off their problem-solving skills during Saturday's Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament.
The community is invited to be a part of the event either to watch or to be a judge for various events.
The competition will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ron Watson Middle School, 9851 E. 28th St.
Amanda Norton, a teacher at Sunrise Elementary School, explained that Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program designed to encourage outside-of-the-box thinking for students from kindergarten through college.
“Each year there are a series of problems presented, and teams choose one to solve. The problems have rules, guidelines and competition. Teams choose which problem they are going to complete. These may be a mechanical, technical, structure or performance based,” said Norton, who is also Western Region director for Odyssey of the Mind.
“For the long-term problems, the students have been working for the past several months to get ready for competition. The program helps students develop self-confidence and enhances teamwork and problem solving skills. It also aligns well with new Common Core and STEM program.”
Norton explained that this regional competition will help the teams to qualify for the state and world finals, which teams at Sunrise have traveled to in the past.
Students are able to have up to seven members per team, and many are coached by parents or teachers.
“Coaches don't get to do it for them; the coaches are there to kind of keep it moving forward but the kids have to solve the problem, the kids have to present it,” she said.
“Odyssey of the Mind develops lifelong experiences... I can give you example, after example, after example of students who started out very shy; they come out thespians, they can create things, they can solve things in new and creative ways.”
In the Yuma Elementary School District, Sunrise has the most teams with five groups participating. Other schools from District 1 involved in the regional competition include two teams from Gila Visa Junior High School, one team from Fourth Avenue Junior High School, three teams from James B. Rolle Elementary School and four teams from Ron Watson Middle School.
“It's one of those programs that not all schools have, but at Sunrise, it's a big deal,” said Sunrise Principal Rob Monson during a school board meeting presentation.
For more information about the competition or on how to donate or volunteer, call Norton at 446-8357.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.