Odyssey winners head to the states

24 Mar 2016 | 02:43

— Thinking outside the box is the mantra of the zany creative problem-solving competition Odyssey of the Mind. The program stresses teamwork and quick-thinking while giving Delaware Valley's K-12 students an outlet to nurture and showcase their skills.
It all came together as these teams went head-to-head at the Northeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament on March 12. The first and second place teams from 18 area schools are now set to match up against teams from across the state near Pittsburgh in April.
About 700 local students from dozens of schools across northeast Pennsylvania started their journey in the fall. That’s when they formed teams and received their long-term problems, ranging from engineering to theatrical. The teams then spent the school year developing an eight-minute performance to present their solutions.
“It’s a fantastic program that pushes children to think outside the box while exercising skills across every academic and artistic discipline,” said Ryan Balton, tournament official and regional public relations director. “The acting, writing, engineering, scenery, costumes — all aspects of the solution are completely original creations of the students.”
This year’s long-term problems range from portraying one of Aesop’s fables going viral to engineering a vehicle that team members must ride to pick up recyclable items that tell a story. Teams also received a secret challenge on the day of the tournament called a spontaneous problem, which they had to solve on the spot.
“I was amazed at the novel solutions our problem solvers proposed,” said Gloria Rumberger, regional director of NEPA Odyssey of the Mind. “They still astound me after all these years!”

11 teams headed to states
The Delaware Valley School District will send the most teams to states, with a total of 11. Nine teams from the Abington Heights School District will represent NEPA at State Finals.
Pocono Mountain West High School hosted the tournament in Pocono Summit for the eighth year in a row. Four teams from the Pocono Mountain School District will head to State Finals.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a backdrop for this exciting event,” said Elizabeth Robison, superintendent of the Pocono Mountain School District. “We wish all of our participants the best and know that the skills demonstrated will indeed last a lifetime.”
The field was rounded out with wins by Easton Area Middle School, Nazareth Intermediate School, Notre Dame HS, and Preston Area School.
The region also presented its annual Karl Schneck, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, in memory of the past NEPA regional co-director, to two NEPA seniors. Pocono Mountain East’s Sara Green and Abington Heights’ Evan Phillips both won scholarship awards.
Winners at State Finals will compete to advance to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Iowa State University in May. Eight NEPA teams advanced to World Finals last year.
NEPA Odyssey of the Mind is an entirely not-for-profit program. The tournament is officiated entirely by volunteers.
“We have flourished as a region because of the contributions of hundreds of dedicated volunteers who step forward to make this valuable program happen,” Rumberger, the regional director, said.
The region includes Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. Schools interested in forming a team next year can email info@nepaootm.com and find more information at www.nepaootm.com.
On the Web
NEPA Odyssey of the Mind: nepaootm.com
NEPA OotM on Facebook: facebook.com/nepaootm
NEPA OotM on Instagram: instagram.com/nepaootm
NEPA OotM on Twitter: twitter.com/nepaootm
PA Odyssey of the Mind: paodyssey.com
Odyssey of the Mind International:odysseyofthemind.com
Full results from the tournament are available at http://nepaootm.comset=a.10153404239551120.1073741835.234868181119
Photos from the competitions - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153399479496120.1073741834.234868181119
Please contact us if you need help finding photos from a certain school, or would like to get in touch with the team members or coaches from a specific team.
PR Director: Ryan Balton – ryan@ryanbalton.com – 646-265-2620
List of all schools with advancing teams:
ABINGTON HEIGHTS ELE SCH #35203
ABINGTON HEIGHTS H S #30358
ABINGTON HEIGHTS MID SCH A #28547
DELAWARE VALLEY ELE SCH #1436
DELAWARE VALLEY H S #3887
DELAWARE VALLEY MID SCH #5570
DINGMAN-DELAWARE ELE SCH #5521
DINGMAN-DELAWARE MID SCH #19690
MOUNTAIN VIEW ELE SCH #44140
NAZARETH AREA INT SCH #42568
NOTRE DAME H S #34291
POCONO MOUNTAIN EAST H S #39944
POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST H S #38092
POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST JHS #38090
PRESTON AREA SCHOOL #44019
RICE ELE SCH #11917
SHOHOLA ELE SCH #11416
SWIFTWATER INT CENTER #38091