Odyssey team advances

Published 8:12 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

Nansemond River High School’s Odyssey of the Mind team has advanced to the statewide competition after winning first place at the regional titles last weekend.

The team chose to compete in the classics problem section of the competition, titled Pandora’s Box, according to a news release.

Members were tasked with using a video game twist to explain the story of Pandora’s box.

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“Their gamer character was challenged in a multi-level game inspired by the Greek myth,” according to the release. “He encountered three characters who represented different evils that had escaped the box.”

The hero’s goal was to defeat the evils and release hope into the world.

If the Nansemond River students place first at the state level, they will compete in the 2015 World Final in late May, to be held at Michigan State University.

Northern Shores Elementary School fielded a second Suffolk Public Schools team at the regional competition for Odyssey. The younger students placed fourth against some very stiff competition, according to the news release.

An international educational program, Odyssey of the Mind compels students, from kindergarten through college, to think creatively to solve problems.

Activities range from building mechanical devices to presenting interpretations of literary classics.

Thousands of teams from across the United States and about 25 other countries compete in the program.

Northern Shores Elementary School peer professional Shellie Whear coaches Nansemond River’s six-member winning team. She said she believes it’s the school district’s first-ever high school Odyssey team.

Three of the members returned to Odyssey from the John Yeates Middle School team, she said, which finished third at state two years ago and second at the regional round last year.

Another student participated in Odyssey during elementary school, Whear added.

“This team is such a cohesive group,” she said.

The students met once a week between October and January, and then stepped it up to three to four times a week, according to Whear.

“It’s pretty significant that they are so involved in so many different things,” she said.

Northern Shores teachers Eric Pulley and Mallorie Jones coached the elementary school Odyssey team.