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Problem-solving, team-building on an international level
Hall students set for Odyssey of the Mind competition
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Davis Middle School students Kennedy Turpin, Izzy Gewin, Briona Bierkamp, Caroline Pruitt, Andrew Blackwell, Siara Chavez and Lia Urbanek participated in the state “Experiencing Technical Difficulties” Odyssey of the Mind competition and earned a place at the world competition May 15-16. The team is one of six in the county fundraising to pay for their trip to world.

Six teams of Hall County students will use artistry and creative thinking in an international competition this May.

Students from multiple Hall County Schools recently qualified for the 2015 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals May 20-23 at Michigan State University. The competition will include more than 18,000 competitors and spectators from more than 20 countries around the world.

“Odyssey of the Mind is a creative, problem-solving, team-building team,” said Darcie Turpin, coach of a C.W. Davis Middle School team and a World Language Academy team, both of which qualified for world. “They are given a problem in September to work on and create a solution. Kids build props, costumes and they make a script based on what the problem is. Then they present that in front of a team of judges.”

Students have eight minutes for their presentation, which Turpin said can be one of the hardest parts.

“It’s challenging, but it teaches the kids how to work together as a team and how to solve problems,” she said. “They learn how to make things with their hands, using their brains and thinking outside the box. That’s what Odyssey is.”

Six Hall County School District Odyssey of the Mind teams finished first or second at the state finals at Columbus State University last month.

Two teams from DaVinci Academy, one team from World Language Academy, a team from Flowery Branch High School and two teams from C.W. Davis Middle School qualified.

Colby Eskew, seventh-grader at Davis Middle School, said his team is fundraising to pay for their trip.

“Recently my Odyssey of the Mind team won first place in the Georgia state competition,” Eskew said. “This means we get to go to the world competition in May in Michigan. We will be representing Flowery Branch, Hall County and the state of Georgia. We are very excited about going, but we have to have enough money.”

Turpin, who coaches the other Davis Middle team and the World Language Academy team, said her teams are fundraising for the trip as well. They expect it to cost more than $1,000 per student, and each team has six or seven students. Those interested can contact the schools for how to help.

“We are asking for any kind of donation,” Eskew said. “It can even be $1. If everyone would give $1 then we might have enough to go.”

Turpin said Odyssey of the Mind is an important team exercise for children unlike anything else they might do.

“It teaches them skills that they can’t always get in the classroom,” she said. “And it goes over and beyond what they get in the classroom. These kids are using power tools, going to Home Depot, working in a cost limit and problem solving. ... So it really just tweaks their brain and makes them think in a different way.”

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