By B.C. Manion
Three area elementary schools will be testing their creative capacities and mental agility at the upcoming Odyssey of the Mind 2011 World Finals in College Park, Md.
The teams competing at this international event come from Wesley Chapel Elementary, Double Branch Elementary and Lawton Chiles Elementary.
The competition, which runs May 27-30,will feature teams from all over the United States and from 25 countries.
The local teams earned the right to compete at the world finals by advancing through regional and state competitions.
Team members from Double Branch Elementary are Ryan and Dominic Couture, Hannah Marmol, Carson Ramsey, Danica Horwitz and Sparsha Muralidhara.
Members of Lawton Chiles Elementary’s OM team are Luis Cuevas, Carson Murray, Caitlyn Dempsey, Hisham Shafiq, Bailey Wilson and Brad Ye.
The Wesley Chapel Elementary OM team consists of Andrew Hull, Julia Palermo, Aidan Persuad, Jeffrey Glenn, Brody Gommier, Josh Williamson and Hunter Dechent.
All of these students will have a chance to work with their teams to demonstrate their capacity for addressing long-term problems and for thinking on their feet to solve spontaneous problems.
Carmen Hull, who coaches the Wesley Chapel Elementary team, is thrilled that her team has made it to the international contest.
“I think it’s amazing to make it past the regional level,” Hull said, noting the teams are going up against hundreds of other children to win at the regional level and are competing against thousands of kids at the state level.
The OM competitions help kids develop valuable lifelong skills, said Murali Venkatappa, who coaches the Double Branch Elementary team. The competitions challenge kids to work together as teams, to manage their time and to use their imagination to come up creative ways to solve problems, he said.
Millions of kids from kindergarten through college have participated in OM, which began a quarter-century ago.
All three of the local teams held fundraisers to help cover travel expenses, but all of them could still use some help. Anyone wishing to make a donation should call the team’s school to find out the deadline for contributions and where they should be sent.
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