Seven Johnstown Odyssey of the Mind teams advance to NY state tournament

a group of students of all ages wear grey t-shirts and pose together inside a gymnasium

Seven Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) teams from the Greater Johnstown School District will be moving on to the NY state tournament, after qualifying at this weekend’s regional tournament, which was held at the Greater Johnstown Jr.-Sr. High School. The regional tournament featured over 200 students competing on 32 different teams from eight schools throughout Region 21, including Johnstown, Canajoharie, Dolgeville, Camden, Northville, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, Broadalbin-Perth, and Fonda-Fultonville.

The New York State Odyssey of the Mind Finals will take place on Saturday, April 15 at the NY State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Teams that place high enough at states, will then move on to the Odyssey World Finals May 24-27 at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

a group of about 50 elementary students in grey t-shirts pose in front of a red curtain

Johnstown had ten teams participate in this weekend’s regional tournament — the most of any school in the region. Eight teams were from Warren Street Elementary School (grades 3-6), one team was from the Jr. High School (8th grade) and one team was from the Sr. High School (seniors).

The Johnstown district has a rich history with the OOTM program. Historically, GJSD is well-represented at the NY state tournament and has sent several teams to the World Finals. Kristin Meashaw, an elementary teacher in the Johnstown School District, serves as the district coordinator for the OOTM program at GJSD. She is also the regional OOTM director and was the coordinator of the regional tournament. 

five teenage students pose in front of a purple wall a group of elementary aged children pose in costumes

five students pose inside a classroom, while in costume five elementary aged students pose in front of a brick wall

students in costume pose in front of a hand painted backdrop seven elementary aged students pose on a theatrical stage with a red curtain behind them

Johnstown teams moving on to the NY state competition include:

Problem 1 – Pirates and the Treasure 

Div 1:  Warren A – 2nd place

Jackson Rush, Christopher Bryson, Katelyn Hutchison, Caeley Ostrander, Brennan Hart, Emily Mullins. Coached by Tyler and Elize Rush.

Div 3:  JJSHS – 1st place

Trey Naselli, Molly Sweeney, Alex DeMagistris, Tyler Hutchison, DJ Long. Coached by Joe Naselli. This team was also the recipient of the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award.

Problem 2 – Because I Can

Div 1:  Warren A – 1st place

Emma Feehan Melious, Gideon Spritzer, Paxton Stock, Katelyn Coppola, Ella Lewis, Kinley Chizek. Coached by Erin Feehan and JenniferSpritzer.

Problem 3 – The Wall of Troy

Div 1:  Warren A – 2nd place

Madison Kortz, Margot Boucher, Adalyn Lewis, Grace Johnson, Renee Gonzales, Mayalia Benitez. Coached by Golenne Kortz and Kyla Boucher.

Problem 4 – Where’s the Structure?

Div 2:  JJSHS – 2nd place 

Keira Sullivan, Addison Fazzio, Isaac Heroth, Maddy Kraemer, Ava Jennings, Devin DeMagistris, Makenna Bush. Coached by Erica Parkhurst and Erin Fazzio.

Problem 5 – The Most Dramatic Problem Ever!

Div 2:  Warren A – 1st place

Neo Baker, Mia Iorio, Beth Solar, Noah Sweet, Lila Malatino, Adam Wieczensi, Stephanie Singer. Coached by Julie St. Amour and Rachel Harrington.

Div 2:  Warren B – 2nd place

Jacob Risley, Celia Willett, Hailey Leonard, Peyton Schuyler, Taylor Saltsman, Madison Schrum, Brooke-Lynn Patrick. Coached by Julie Risley and Deborah Skoda-Willet.

What exactly is Odyssey of the Mind? 

Each year, OOTM reveals “problems” in five different categories that teams will be tasked to create solutions for. Each problem is original, contains mandatory criteria and limitations to work within, and lists scoring categories. Students spend months working with their teammates, to figure out a creative solution to their chosen problem. Problem 1 always involves creating and engineering some sort of vehicle. Problem 2 focuses on a technical problem. Problem 3 focuses on “The Classics.” Problem 4 involves building a structure and Problem 5 is centered around a performance. All of the problems require teams to use creativity, science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math.

Students up to fifth grade participate in Division 1; grades 6-8 compete in Division 2; and grades 9-12 compete in Division 3. Students in kindergarten through second grade are on Primary teams, and do not compete, but are still able to perform and receive feedback from judges.

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