Northeast PA's most creative students win at States, head to World Finals

| 29 Apr 2015 | 11:10

Eight teams from northeast Pennsylvania will compete on the international stage at the creative problem-solving Odyssey of the Mind World Finals this May. These teams were crowned world finalists, winning at the Pennsylvania State Finals tournament on April 11.

The Delaware Valley School District had four teams take home first place — DV Elementary School in the Experiencing Technical Difficulties competition, and teams from DV High School and Dingman Delaware Elementary and Middle Schools in the Silent Movie competition.

Abington Heights High School's teams in Experiencing Technical Difficulties and Silent Movie both placed second.

Rice Elementary School from the Crestwood School District placed second in the Runaway Train competition.

Odyssey of the Mind is a competition that stresses teamwork and thinking outside the box while giving K-12 students an outlet to nurture and showcase their skills.

“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, regional public relations director. “The acting, writing, engineering, scenery, costumes – all aspects of the solution are completely original creations of the students.”

These students were among a thousand of the state's top “OMERs” who competed at the Berwick Area School District earlier this month, after winning at regional tournaments in March. The tournaments are administered and officiated entirely by volunteers.

The seven-member teams had spent the entire school year developing an eight-minute performance to present solutions to Odyssey of the Mind problems with a variety of technical and theatrical components. This year's long-term problems ranged from building a train that had to overcome obstacles and complete tasks, to creating a silent movie with music played on a team-created instrument. Teams also received a secret challenge on the day of the tournament called a spontaneous problem, which they had to solve on the spot.

World Finals will be May 20 to 23 at Michigan State University.

“We're very excited our teams have the chance to meet up with teams from around the world next month,” Balton said. “We wish them the best of luck in Michigan.”

Schools interested in forming a team next year can find more information at

Editor's note: The original version of this story gave the wrong number of teams headed for the World Finals. The correct number is provided here. The Courier regrets the error.