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Joshua Thomas
The Odyssey of the Mind team's peers congratulate them during last Thursday's assembly.

Joshua Thomas
The second place Odyssey of the Mind team, from left, Breanna Snyder, Louis Hand, Samantha Field, Phillip Leverett, Benjamin Field, Danyell Monk and Madeline Elliot.

Joshua Thomas
Odyssey Coach Doris Leverett, Breanna Snyder, Madeline Elliot, Louis Hand, Phillip Leveret, Benjamin Field, Danyell Monk, Samantha Field and Odyssey Coach Jennifer Field.


Odyssey of the Mind team honored for second place win

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - Updated: 1:54 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- On Saturday, June 1, an Odyssey of the Mind team consisting of eighth grade students from Canajoharie Middle School boarded a bus bound for Ames, Iowa at 1 a.m., and after 22 hours of straight travel -- putting them at their destination around 11 p.m. -- performed in front of thousands of people from all over the globe at the World Finals, taking second place.

Hundreds of teams competed from 20-plus countries, and those teams where whittled down to a select few, including in those prestigious ranks Canajoharie Middle School, who just missed first place designation by a fraction of a point.

During an assembly held to honor the team for their impressive accomplishment last Thursday, Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw said, "Teams come in all different shapes and sizes -- this is an academic-creative team," emphasizing that it was the combined work of the individuals on the team that brought such results.

Team Coach Doris Leverett, commented of team members, "Their skill sets are completely different." Some, she said, excel at acting, while others choose to remain behind the scenes. Some excel at artistry while others shake at the very thought of having to physically create art. "It's when the team brings all those skills and puts them together that we end up with such phenomenal artistic and creative results."

Grimshaw continued, "Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning -- they're proof."

"What we all can learn, every single one of us sitting in this room, from your efforts, is this: success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming," concluded Grimshaw, speaking directly to the students.

Of the experience, team member Ben Field stated, "It was great -- very fun. It was wonderful to meet all the different teams and people from all over the world." Madeline Elliot said that the students made "lifelong friendships" with the people they met at World Finals.

Of the creative process, Danyell Monk commented, "We disagreed on some things and agreed on other things, so we had to make a lot of compromises."

Louis Hand agreed, though he pointed out, "being friends for so long definitely helped us become a better team."

One of the students' favorite moments was the pin trading aspect of the event, wherein they traded specially created pins (the Canajoharie pins contained an image of the Delorean from "Back to the Future", as their play featured a time machine) from all over the world, which they were able to take home as keepsakes.


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