Bath students need $40K for world competition

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BATH — Five Odyssey of the Mind teams from Bath schools are undergoing an odyssey of a different sort, aiming to raise $40,000 to allow them to travel to Iowa to participate in the program’s 2009 World Finals.

Odyssey of the Mind, a program that offers problem-solving opportunities for kindergarten to college students, is hosting about 5,500 students from 35 states and 17 countries during the May 27-30 competition at Iowa State University.

In order to qualify for that round, the Bath teams had to finish first or second in their individual divisions during the state competition, held at Sanford High School on March 28.

One Fisher-Mitchell School team scored first in the “Teach Yer Creature” challenge, which saw the students build a mechanical animal that would play a role in a humorous skit with a student “trainer,” said Joy Shaw, a mother of one of the team members and an Odyssey team aid.

“We cannot help the children in any way,” she said. “They have to come up with their own solution. … They do it all on their own.”

Teams from Morse High and Bath Middle schools each finished second in the “Shock Waves” challenge, in which students designed and built structures from balsa wood and glue that could support and balance as much weight as possible while absorbing shock waves.

Other second-place finishers were teams from the high school and Fisher-Mitchell.

Odyssey of the Mind helps children learn teamwork, Shaw said: “They have to make decisions as a team … they really learn a lot about building. They really learn a lot just in general about different ways of solving problems.”

Among the fundraisers planned is a Hawaiian-themed dance at Bath Middle School from 7-9 p.m. Friday, May 1. All Regional School Unit 1 students in grades 6-8 are welcome to attend. The dance will include limbo and hula-hoop events and prizes for each. The $5 admission fee buys each person a Hawaiian gift, and drinks and snacks can be purchased.

Shaw said a calendar raffle will begin, too. Calendars will be sold for $10 each, and the name of each purchaser is entered in the raffle. Every day in May a name will be chosen, and that person will receive a prize donated by an area merchant. The calendars are available at the Fisher-Mitchell and Dike-Newell schools, or from team members.

During Bath’s citywide yard sale on Saturday, May 2, the Odyssey team members will have a refreshments table next to the Sunrise Rotary in Library Park.

Those interested in helping the team reach its goal can send checks, payable to Bath Odyssey of the Mind, to Lori Harper, 27 Farrin St., Bath, ME, 04530.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or