Odyssey of the Mind team places in top 30 at World Finals

The Skaneateles High School Odyssey of the Mind team finished 26th in its division at the 2011 World Finals at the end of May, capping off another impressive intellectual season. This was the ninth time in seven years a Skaneateles team has gone to the World Finals.

Team Extreme Mousemobiles, composed of members Thomas Andrews, Dylan Baker, Hunter Dickinson, Brandon Mack, Christina Marshall and Jennifer Richardson competed against 37 other schools from 19 states and nearly one dozen foreign countries at the University of Maryland, College Park, on May 28-29.

"The experience was amazing and an unforgettable part of my life," said team member Thomas Andrews.

Odyssey of the Mind competitions include three divisions for elementary, middle and high school groups. Each team solves one of five long-term problems and must answer spontaneous questions asked on the spot by Odyssey judges.

Team Extreme Mousemobiles' long problem required the team to design, build and run vehicles that used mousetraps as their only source of energy. The Mouse Mobiles traveled a course that had segments with different challenges, such as driving through a tunnel, raising a flag or hitting a target. They also performed two team-created challenges. They ended the competition with a total score of 231.68 points.

Finishing 26th out of 37 certainly was a bit disappointing, said team coach Chandler Dickinson, but the experience itself, plus the road traveled to get to the World Finals more than made up for it.

Skaneateles advanced to the world finals after placing second at the state finals in March in Binghamton. In order to be able to go to Worlds in Maryland, however, the team first had to raise the necessary travel funds.

They sent letters to local businesses, family members and friends asking for donations; had fundraising nights at local restaurants such as Joe's Pasta Garage and Joelle's Bistro; and a Family Fun Extravaganza event with games, raffles, food and a silent auction.

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