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Davis students place second in Odyssey world competition
C.W. Davis Middle School’s Kendall Mouzakis, 14, places the head of a gargoyle on its body earlier this month as the school’s Odyssey of the Mind team prepared for a trip to the World Finals in Michigan this week. The event is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life.

A team of Davis Middle School students finished second out of 45 teams in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals on the campus of Michigan State University last week.

OM is a problem-solving competition in which the student teams and an adult coach spend months preparing a creative solution to a specific problem for their age group. The competition combines science and creativity as students solve the problem through the course of an 8-minute skit. The team is also required to solve another problem spontaneously given by the judges.

“We were very excited,” said Kim Carroll, a Davis teacher and coach of the team, who has led Davis teams to second-place finishes two other times. She has coached Hall County OM teams for 24 years, reaching the finals more than 15 times.

The only team to score higher than Davis was a team from China.

“It’s always tough,” Carroll said of the competition. “There were a number of other China teams there that we did beat, so they were very excited.”

The Davis team made a structure out of balsa wood that weighed less than 15 ounces yet was designed to hold more than 1,000 pounds, while performing a Scooby-Doo mystery skit in which the cast searched for and built a 9-foot Eiffel Tower.

The team qualified for the finals by finishing first in the state competition April 1. Teams must finish first or second in the state to qualify for worlds.

Three other Hall County teams were among the 34 Georgia teams competing in the OM finals. A team from World Language Academy, which made a functioning robot, finished sixth in its division. Flowery Branch High placed 10th with a performance that also included an original robot. Another team from Flowery Branch finished 25th in the competition with a solution in which it had to create and present a humorous superhero cliffhanger.

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