Seven Odyssey of the Mind teams advance to NY State Tournament April 13

students stand behind a banner that reads "NYSOMA Region 21 Champions"

Best of luck to Johnstown’s seven Odyssey of the Mind teams that have earned their way into the NY State Tournament, which will be held at the NY State Fairgrounds on April 13! Teams earned the right to advance to states based on their performances in the Regional Tournament at Broadalbin-Perth Central School in early March. The top three teams at the NY State Tournament will move on to the World Finals, to be held May 21-24 at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. 

six elementary students pose with treasure island props around them

GJSD teams earning 1st place in their problem and division at regionals were:

  • 4th grade team coached by Ms. Ilnicki & Mrs. Nellis – Ava Ilnicki, Kennedy Nellis, Resse Baker, Sadie Maas, Zoey Engel, Boone Hazzard, Ezra Blanc
  • 5th grade team coached by Mrs. Daniels & Mrs. Sweet – Kennedy Cooke, Oliver Sweet, Lara Brown, Bradley Lamont, Zenon Blanc, Layla Furman
  • 5th & 7th grade combined team coached by Mrs. Risley & Mrs. Leonard – Jacob Risley, Hailey Leonard, Peyton Schuyler, Zane Lee, Jaidyn Risley, Isabella Sanabria, Freya Pertell

Four other Johnstown teams placed high enough at regionals to earn a Wild Card spot in the State Tournament:

  • 3rd grade team coached by Ms. Dingman – 2nd place
  • 4th grade team coached by Ms. Smith – 2nd place
  • 5th grade team coached by Ms. Sponnoble & Mr. Ackerbauer – 3rd place
  • 6th grade team coached by Mrs. Rush & Mrs. Hutchison – 2nd place

students perform a skit in costume and stand behind a school bus that they built four students perform a skit in a gymnasium

OOTM is a very popular extracurricular opportunity at the Greater Johnstown School District. Kristin Meashaw, who is an elementary teacher at Warren Street, serves as program coordinator for the Johnstown District. This year, 65 students in grades two through seven were on the 11 individual GJSD teams that competed at regionals.

to adult females pose with two elementary students who are showing a trophyAt the regional awards ceremony, special recognition was given to two GJSD teams. Judges in the Primary Problem (designed for beginners in grades K-2) recognized two second grade students with the Omer Award. Congratulations to Gwendolyn Rush and Waylon Biron for their determination to still compete when half of their team came down with the stomach bug. 

The team of seventh graders coached by Ms. St. Amour and Mrs. Harrington were given a Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award for their development of a working electric guitar made out of a tennis racket. The judges reported that this was the highlight of their performance!

“All Johnstown students and volunteer coaches should be commended for their hard work and determination,” Mrs. Meashaw said. “This program is a big time commitment, but develops so many important life skills needed to be a successful student and adult,” she added.

students in costume pose in a gymnasium seven young students perform a skit in costume, inside a gymnasium

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