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Manhattan Beach Students Triumph at 'Odyssey of the Mind'

Mar 30, 2017 10:27AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
A Robinson Elementary School team earned a first-place victory at the California state Odyssey of the Mind championship over the weekend, and will now head to the world championships in Michigan in May.

The team of Bridget Ballantine, Callie Boren, Hunter Gregory, Chloe Hynes, William Kiely, and Jonathan Voskuilen were among the more than 180 schools competing in the creative problem-solving competition. The Robinson team earned the top spot among the ten schools in their division.

“The extraordinary creativity and solutions created by so many young people from across our state were beyond inspiring,” said team coach Andrea Hynes. “I truly think what helped our team stand out was their ability to fully dedicate themselves to the team by collaborating well, sharing ideas, as well as helping and trusting each other throughout the entire six-month process.”

The team had previously earned a high score at the Los Angeles Basin Region Odyssey of the Mind championships at the end of February. That high score earned them a berth at the state championships.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life. It is a combination of theater and problem solving with a creative twist. Through the writing of original scripts, the creation of costumes, props, scenery, and technical elements, teams of students work together to produce incredible solutions to creative problems while thinking "beyond the box."

The Robinson team chose the "Superhero Cliffhanger" challenge. The challenge called upon students to create and present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that encounters three different situations where it must save creativity in some way. The superhero has to change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance also includes a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.

In addition to Robinson, teams from Pacific Elementary School and Pennekamp Elementary School tackled problems to earn high marks at the state competition.

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