Manila students excel in Odyssey of the Mind

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manila fifth and sixth grade students experienced a new level of competition as they competed in the regional Odyssey of the Mind for the first time. They not only competed, they excelled with teams winning first, second, third, and fourth place wins.

The event was held in Newport on Saturday, March 7, with 24 Manila Middle School students participating.

Manila fifth and sixth grade students participated in the Odyssey of the Mind winning with teams winning first, second, third and fourth place. Teachers pictured with the students are Dana Braden and Tim Bassing. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Manila teacher Tim Bassing said these students had worked for months to complete a long term problem for this competition.

"Students worked every spare minute at school, after school, and late into the night during the week prior to competition," Bassing said. "The effort was supported by many different people. The classroom teachers gave students extra time to work on the projects and were patient with the extra noise created by this kind of long term project. Teachers volunteered to serve as coaches and judges. Diane Wagner, Middle School principal, kept check on our projects and constantly offered help and support. When the question of expense came up, Superintendent Pam Castor supported the OM competition without hesitation. But I was most impressed by the support of the parents. Parents that are scheduled to the point of stress overload gave their time and money to support our OM teams."

Four of Manila's OM teams placed in the competition and will move on to compete at the state level in April. In the Earth Trek competition Manila teams won first place in Division 2 and second place in Division 1. In the Shock Wave competition, Manila teams won third place in Division 2 and fourth place in Division 1.

At the competition, there was a category called "spontaneous." Every team had to compete in this category. Students were taken into a room and given a problem to solve. Each team was scored on how creative and quickly they could solve the problem. The judges said Manila students were very impressive at this task.

"This type of competition is very important for our students because it teaches real skills they will need in life," Bassing said. "Students had to work as a team, they had to follow carefully designed rules, and they had to meet specific deadlines.

"We have some great students at MMS, a great staff, super parents, and a tremendous community that supports our school. It's great to be a Lion!"

Students participating include: fifth grade -- Jenna Benson, Rachel Braden, Callie Cater, Kris Gann, Shae Hale, Taylor Harmon, Haley Hicks, Bailey Jo Johnson, Dustin LaRue, Kole Minton, Briana Myrick, Chris Pennington, Aundi Russell, Courtney Scott, Laura Smithson, Sydney Wagner, Bailey Williams, Lauren Woody; sixth grade students -- Seth Grissom, Abbie Jolliff, Dillion May, Harrison McMillan, Jayden Moore, Nicole Parsons, Caleb Reinhart, Kailen Shelton, Taylen Smith, Shay Stull, MacKenzie Tate.

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