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Rocky Run Will Compete at Odyssey of Mind World Finals

The Rocky Run Middle School Team from Centreville will travel to College Park, Md., May 29-June 2 for the Odyssey of the Mind 2004 World Finals, an international problem-solving competition for students from kindergarten through college.

They will compete against 700 teams from nearly every state and 20 countries as far away as China, Japan, Poland and Malaysia. Some 15,000 spectators are anticipated as well.

The team earned a place at World Finals by coming in second place at the Virginia Odyssey of the Mind Finals on April 24 at Courtland High School in Spotsylvania.

"They just have a really unique way of looking at things that's way out of the box," said coach Tami Troscianecki.

The team of seventh- and eighth-graders solved the long-term problem, Fantastic Art, in the Division II category. Their solution included painting four works of art that came alive when no one else could see them and returned to their original state when other characters were around. The team designed and built a two-story house stage set with retractable walls, passageways, and revolving backdrops. They won the coveted Ranatra Fusca Award for their approach at the OM Regional Competition.

They built four devices to allow the paintings to come alive such as a flying bird, mechanical moving dolls, retractable braid, and a spider that moved. They carved many of their props. Their skit centered on Dr. Seuss and how he became a writer of children’s books. The four paintings became storybook characters, Rapunzel, King Arthur, Robin Hood and Madeline. The storybook characters led Dr. Seuss to a treasure that was found by solving riddles.

“The team gets along so well this year, they all recognize their talents and play off of each other's strengths," said Troscianecki. "They have had a lot of fun this year and have learned new skills; some of the kids had never carved or painted anything prior to this experience.”

The team members are Leah Troscianecki, Diane Palko, Arjun Khanna, Bethany Horstmann, Kathleen Gately, Erin Friedlander and Jeff Chen.

Five of the team members have been together since fourth grade, two joined the team this year, but have competed on other teams in previous years, said Troscianecki.

First-place winners receive a trophy; second- and third-place winners receive medallions. There are also two special awards: the Ranatra Fusca is given for extreme creativity and the Omer is given at the judge's discretion.