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Odyssey of the Mind Continues to Energize Young Minds

Problem solving competition held at Mount Vernon High School.

Life-size puppets, elaborate signs and colorful costumes filled the hallways of Mount Vernon High School last weekend. Students from local schools assembled to compete in the Nova East Odyssey of the Mind competitions.

This competition was started more than 20 years ago by Sam Micklus, professor at Rowan University in New Jersey and is designed to teach students to learn creative problem-solving methods while working on open-ended problems.

Students are assigned adult coaches; they are there to help with the process, but not to give them ideas. Teams meet weekly for several months to work on a problem of their choice, selected from a list of available problems. On the day of the competition, they have eight minutes to complete their presentation and are given a final score by a team of judges. They also participate in a spontaneous event where the team is given an open-ended question and then asked to complete it.

Once again, Stratford Landing Elementary was the school with the highest participation; they were represented by 10 teams in two different divisions. Also represented were: Thomas Jefferson Elementary; Riverside Elementary; Browne Academy; Agape Christian Academy; Belle View Elementary; West Potomac High School; Mount Vernon High School and St. Mary's Catholic School.