Local teams win at Worlds

Chester nails first-time effort: Goshen continues domination of Worlds with first-place win

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  • The winning Chester team

  • The winning Goshen team

A — Local student teams often do well when competing with other students in the county or state. But at the Odyssey of the Mind competition just completed in Ames, Iowa, student-teams from both Chester and Goshen won the most difficult challenge imaginable: best in the world!

Chester rises at its first Worlds

For the first time ever, the Chester Odyssey of the Mind Division I team traveled to Ames for the World competition, which teams only get to see after they've first prevailed in local and regional contests. They then placed at the top of the charts: 18 out of 833 of the best academic teams on the planet. In this globally competitive world, students all over the world can only hope to be as good.

Team members include: Isabella Acevedo, Tristan Brideweser, Alexandria Cox, Carolyn Harvey, George Lawson, Emily Murray, and Jillian Randazzo. They were coached by Wendy Murray with the help of Dave Lawson.

"We were thrilled," Murray said. "This team made history. As a coach and a parent, I couldn’t be more proud so I say congratulations to all and thank you for the pleasure and privilege of coaching you. And thank you to all who made it possible!" (Please see page 12 for her complete letter.)

The students report that it was the experience of a lifetime, with opening ceremonies that felt like being at the Olympics. The team marched into the coliseum with the New York contingent and were met by thousands of screaming spectators.

The Chester team competed in the balsa wood or structure problem. Their structure was able to support 300 pounds in competition — an amazing achievement considering that this weight was supported by the equivalent of matchsticks.

Goshen continues Worlds domination

Goshen, a bigger school than Chester, is no stranger to Worlds primacy, having won before. This year at Worlds, Goshen Intermediate School's Odyssey of the Mind team took first place (Problem 3, Division I) for their "It's How We Rule" project.

Team members are Madilyn Bunzey, Kierstin Holt, Sarah McDowell, Emma Melley, Brianna Van Steenburgh, Alexandria Thurtle and Jilian Welshoff. The girls are coached by Jeanette McDowell and Amy Bunzey.

In addition, the Goshen High School and C. J. Hooker Middle School's "Seeing is Believing" teams placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in their divisions.

For "It's How We Rule," students tackled the following scenario: "In the 1795 Kingdom of Hawaii, the people are faced with a coconut shortage. Some greedy people are taking more than they need. King Kamehameha (Jilian Welshoff) is the big, busy ruler of the kingdom who always eats four coconuts a day. When his secretary (Brianna Van Steenburgh) loses one of his coconuts, it finds its way into the future. King Kamehameha deals with the coconut shortage by issuing a decree that will allow all Hawaiians to continue to enjoy the fruit from the Tree of Life and stay happy and healthy. The coconut travels through a strange portal to the year 3335 and the Kingdom of Argenteus. This is a peaceful, flower-filled kingdom filled with songs sung by a minstrel. However, the quiet is due to the citizen’s obsession with their i-petals. The appearance of this strange, brown ball captures everyone’s attention and when it produces a shiny coconut tree Queen Lametta (Sarah McDowell) believes it will be a good thing for the kingdom and plans to consult with her advisors. The citizens are told to go about their business. They begin to walk and text and play i-petal games, colliding with one another in the streets. The Queen, alarmed by this behavior issues a decree outlawing the use of i-petals while walking. Argenteus is once again a peaceful, happy and healthy kingdom.

Local students had the opportunity to meet others from around the state, across the country and around the world. They traded pins, hats and shirts while making new friends. And everyone hopes to make it back to the World Competition again next year.

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