Odyssey teams win honors at state competition

Warwick. For the fourth time in the past five years teams from the Warwick Valley School Dstrict have reached the World Finals.

| 12 Apr 2021 | 04:22

The Warwick Valley School District continued its tradition of excellence in the 2021 New York State Odyssey of the Mind competition with two teams winning state championships, two teams placing second and one team taking third.

Teams from Sanfordville Elementary School and Park Avenue Elementary School finished first and now advance to the World Finals. This is the fourth time in the past five years that the WVCSD teams have reached the World Finals.

The New York State Odyssey of the Mind Competition pivoted to a virtual format for 2021 and 170 teams entered via videos. The purpose of the competition is to focus on creative problem solving using a team approach. Teams were scored on a combination of points earned from long-term solutions, spontaneous solutions and style.

First place: Sanfordville Elementary School

“The team worked tirelessly to create a unique story about a villain major who had stolen all of the color from the town,” coach Heidi Powers said. “The vehicle rode around searching for ‘more hue’ which was a play on words with their assignment to make a skit with humor. They did an amazing job using all of their skills together.”

The Sanfordville team also won a Ranatra Fusca Award, demonstrating exceptional creativity and risk taking in some aspect of their solution.

“This team was exceptionally creative in several aspects of their performance, “the judges said. “For their vehicle engineering they ‘thought big’ and used a tall ingenious lever mechanism to release a weight held at the top of a pole that then fell ‘through’ the floor of their vehicle. This mechanism allowed them to travel seemingly effortlessly and magically from stop to stop, in forward and reverse.”

First place: Park Avenue Elementary School

“We’re so proud of this young Odyssey team consisting of all 3rd and 4th grade students,” said Christy Brown, one of the coaches of the Park Ave team. “They were self-driven, hard workers that created all of their backgrounds, costumes, props, and set pieces at home while meeting virtually for their news themed performance. The team was in constant contact adding updated puns and jokes to their script via google classroom even on days they didn’t practice.

“For their Zoom recorded presentation, the team incorporated comical aspects that we have all been facing over this past year referencing ‘being on mute’ and ‘too close to the camera’ for example,” Brown said. “We were honored to win the regional and state competition especially amongst so many other amazingly talented teams in New York.”

The judges were impressed with the newspaper costumes the team made and said they looked like high school quality. The judges also loved the team’s zoom struggles and jokes throughout the performance.

This year, all teams who competed at the state level were invited to the 2021 World Finals. The Virtual World Finals are scheduled for April 30-May 29. The in-person World Finals will be held on June 11-12 in Orlando, Fla.

Other WVCSD teams placing in the top three spots were:
Second Place: Warwick Valley High School, Problem 2, Division III, coached by Heidi Powers and Kevin Powers. Team members are Alana Adee, Sophia Amato, Cavan Byrne, Mary Hoey, Carolyn Powers, Sophia Samborski and Arianna Weinberg.
Second place: Warwick Valley Middle School, Problem 5, Division II, coached by Kerin Lijoi and Justin Lijoi. Team members are Juliana Adee, Ashlyn Brown, Anya Campbell, Nina Cirillo, Violet Collins, Abbie Gawronski and Madison Lijoi.
Thir0d place: Warwick Valley High School, Problem 1, Division III, coached by Rekha Woods and Donna Denny. Team members are Naa Korkoi (Kooki) Aryeetey, Sophie Cresser, Ava Gell, Olivia Holland, Alexa Keys, Rachel Powers and Julie Woods.
A complete list of results is available on the NYSOMA site.