Orinda Students Head to Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament

(Nancy Phan Fields, Photographer)
Orinda Rotary #42350 Team (L to R): Abby Kim, Livia Phan Fields, Aimee Steinmeier, Coach Angelica Steinmeier, Caitlin Chan, Zia Cohn, Ava Yap, Sannam Tognotti and Odyssey of the Mind NorCal Regional Director Janis Dewar.

    A team of local students who placed first in their division in the San Francisco Bay Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament has qualified for the State Tournament, with the opportunity to compete for a spot in the World Tournament in May.
    Named after its sponsor, Orinda Rotary #42350 consists of seven 5th-grade girls: Abby Kim, Aimee Steinmeier, Caitlin Chan, Ava Yap and Sannam Tognotti from Sleepy Hollow Elementary; and Livia Phan Fields and Zia Cohn from Hillcrest Elementary School in Oakland. Zimian Huang and Angelica Steinmeier, both parents at Sleepy Hollow Elementary, helped organize the team and provided the minimal coaching allowed by the competition. 
    There were two components to the March 2 regional tournament, a “spontaneous challenge” that required the team to problem-solve on the spot and a long-term problem chosen by the team from five options provided by Odyssey of the Mind and solved ahead of time.
    The students selected “Opposites Distract” as their long-term problem, competing against 14 other teams presenting their solutions in that category. The adult coaches provided guidance in time management, but the students were solely responsible for the creation and execution of their 8-minute performance before the judges and audience. At the state tournament, the team will face a new spontaneous challenge and will again make the case for their solution to the “Opposites Distract” problem.
    Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. First introduced more than 30 years ago, the competition is open to thousands of teams from throughout the United States and 25 countries. To learn more about Odyssey of the Mind, go to www.odysseyofthemind.com.

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