Odyssey of the Mind Saturday

Odyssey of the Mind regional tournament

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POCONO SUMMIT — Over 700 local students will put their creativity to the test at Northeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind's largest regional tournament ever. More than 100 teams from 45 area K-12 schools will go head to head on March 3.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program. Teams of up to seven students receive a "long-term" problem at the beginning of the school year that they must solve in an eight-minute performance within a small budget.

“It’s a fantastic program that pushes children to think outside the box while exercising skills across every academic and artistic discipline,” said Delaware Valley alumnus Ryan Balton, its regional public relations director. “The acting, writing, engineering, scenery, costumes – all aspects of the solution – are completely original creations of the students. It’s exciting to see what they come up with.”

This year’s long-term problems range from designing a vehicle that displays human emotions to performing a musical theatre spin on William Shakespeare’s famous line “To be or not to be.”

Teams also receive a secret "spontaneous" problem the day of competition, which they must solve on the spot.

The NEPA regional tournament will be held at Pocono Mountain West High School in Pocono Summit for the fourth year in a row. Schools from Northampton County join the northeast region this year, increasing the tournament's size by about 200 students.

“We’re excited to welcome Northampton County to the northeast region,” Balton said. “Our area already has some of the best OMERs in the world every year, and now the competition is more impressive than ever.”

The region also includes Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Winners at the regional tournament will advance to state finals in April, which will be hosted by the northeast region for the first time this year. At state finals, teams will compete to advance to World Finals at Iowa State University in May.

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