FFCS to host Odyssey of the Mind event

Fonda-Fultonville students prepare their skit materials for the upcoming Odyssey of the Mind regional competition scheduled at Fonda-Fultonville on Saturday. (Photo submitted)

FONDA — Local students will clash Saturday in the regional Odyssey of the Mind, all competing to advance to the state competition.

Fonda-Fultonville Central School District will be hosting this year’s regional competition with 63 teams from 10 schools competing for the regional competition. The 10 schools include Johnstown, Gloversville, Fonda-Fultonville, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Dolgeville, Fort Plain, Camden and the Homerkinds which is a group of home school students.

Odyssey of the Mind runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a ceremony at 5:30 in the high school gymnasium.

“The kids are excited to be hosting the competition,” said Shelly Sanges, Fonda-Fultonville’s Odyssey of the Mind coordinator. “The kids have a quiet confidence knowing the venues and the space. It’s less intimidating. The school staff has been incredibly generous with their time and support to help prepare the event.”

Odyssey of the Mind is a team competition with teams of five to seven students working creatively to solve problems. Teams are made up by three divisions. Division one is elementary, division two is middle school and division three is high school. There is also a primary division of kindergarten through second-grade students, that is non-scoring and non-competitive.

“It promotes STEM initiative, but also keen communication skills,” Sanges said. “Some problems key in on more drama-like skits with complex props and scenes, while others require building using balsa wood or mechanical components. All require teamwork and compromise — skills sometimes lost in today’s world of social media.”

At the beginning of the school year, teams were given an extremely detailed problem to solve over a four- to five-month period.

Sanges said the problems were released in late summer, so a few teams have been practicing since September and October. Using creativity and teamwork, students have that time period to orchestrate every part of the solution, also known as their skit.

For their solution/skit, students will create characters, props, scenery, a story line, costumes and in some cases a balsa wood structure or drivable vehicle. The teams’ skits have to be in eight minutes or less.

In the second part of the competition, students are given a spontaneous hands-on or verbal problem to solve on the spot, demonstrating how they think on their feet and work as a team.

These 63 teams from the 10 schools will all be competing to advance to the state competition which is April 7 at Binghamton University. Sanges said in order for students to advance they must be declared the winner in their division with a combined score from the two parts of the competition.

By Kerry Minor

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