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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Molly & Adam head for OotM World Finals

My two youngest, Molly (age 9) and Adam (age 11), have been working since late winter and throughout the spring with a team of five classmates (Maggie J., Evan L., Alex M., Allison O., and Allie R.) in this year's Odyssey of the Mind competition.  This was Adam's and Molly's second year to compete on a team together.  Their older siblings, Kevin and Sarah, also participated in this competition when they were in elementary school, and my ex coached a team a couple of years ago, so OotM is something of a family tradition.

As described on its handy website, OotM is

an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Kids apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program....

Teams are scored for their long-term problem solution, how well they solve a “spontaneous” problem on the spot, and “Style” — the elaboration of their long-term problem solution.

Adam's and Molly's team chose this year to work on the "Envirover problem":

The team's problem is to build and drive a human-powered Envirover vehicle that will collect trash and deliver it to a Factory, where it will be used to manufacture a product of the team’s design. The team will present an original prototype of the product, then use the trash to produce five samples of the product. The team will also create and present a humorous sales pitch for its product that takes place in a store setting.

They and their teammates met many, many times to plan for and construct their prototype Envirover, develop the associated "sales pitch" skit (with appropriate costumes and props), and practice for the spontaneous problem.  The competition isn't too intense — the teamwork and cooperation skills developed during the run-up is the main point of participating, at least for our family.

Their team has continually improved, however.  Although they just squeaked through the Houston Regional competition (behind two other teams from their school) to qualify for last weekend's Texas Odyssey 2004 State Tournament, they ended up placing second in their division at State — thereby qualifying for the OotM 2004 World Finals to be held at the University of Maryland on May 29-June 1!  Woohoo!  Their mom will likely accompany them for the trip along with their older siblings, and hopefully they'll all be able to combine some DC-area sightseeing over a long weekend.

Obviously, I'm pretty tickled by their success.  One of our family mantras — something I repeat just about every day — is "I'm proud of you all the time, even when you're sleeping, just for you being you."  But whenever they do something especially praiseworthy — and certainly for results like these — I gladly get to say, "Wow, I'm extra proud of you today!"

Here are the two young competitors as they were climbing into the car on the way to school this morning, looking pretty tickled with themselves:

Beldar's daughter Molly Beldar's son Adam

Posted by Beldar at 11:50 PM in Family | Permalink


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(1) kevin whited made the following comment | Apr 7, 2004 3:34:50 PM | Permalink

Cute kids.

I participated in Odyssey of the Mind some years ago. Thanks for making me feel really old, Beldar. :)

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Apr 7, 2004 4:52:23 PM | Permalink

Well, Kevin, on May 20, 1970, while you were busy being born in Orange, Texas, I was already busy wondering whether my first real girlfriend would let me make out with her at the movies that weekend. So if you feel old, I feel absolutely ancient.

But they are cute kids, I agree — and smart! Thanks for the compliment!

(3) Charles Kuffner made the following comment | Apr 7, 2004 6:43:16 PM | Permalink

Congrats and best of luck to them in the finals! Some of my Little Leaguers do OotM, but I didn't really know anything about it (not having grown up here) until I read this. Way to go, Molly and Adam!

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