Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Education

Deer Park Elementary team heading to Odyssey of the Mind world finals

NEW PORT RICHEY

The tooth fairy is a welcome visitor in many a house, a stealth-like creature of fancy that sneaks in during the middle of the night to snatch lost teeth from under pillows in exchange for the going rate.

But imagine how a lost tooth might feel about that? Could be a scary scenario to be suddenly uprooted with no idea of where you're going.

So maybe you get together with your mouth mates — send a loose molar or baby tooth out to test the waters and report back. Maybe you discover that what comes next isn't so scary after all.

That's the basic plot behind a creative and witty skit conjured by seven members of the Seeing is Believing Odyssey of the Mind Team from Deer Park Elementary School.

It's a pretty good story according to local and state judges of the annual educational competitions that promote creativity by offering a variety of problems to solve for students in kindergarten through college.

After placing second in regional and then second at the state Odyssey of the Mind competition, the Seeing is Believing team is now one of six from Pasco County schools headed to the Odyssey of the Mind 2014 World Finals, May 28-31 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

It all started with an idea — or about 50 of them, according to Hannah Mayer, 11.

"We had to create a community of anything you want — but in this community, they had to be afraid of something," she said, outlining the Odyssey of the Mind Seeing is Believing problem her team started working on in September.

It was Jillian Richarz, 10, who came up with the idea of a scary tooth fairy, a role that she took on. More characters were born — Papa Wisdom Tooth (Shrey Patel, 11), Buck the Hillbilly (Ethan Westbrook, 10), Jack Plaque the Hippy Tooth, (Hannah Mayer, 11), Baby Incisor (Asia Fulks, 10), an eye tooth (Devyn Menne, 10) and a canine (Sophia Adkins, 10 ).

The kids wrote an eight-minute script, revising along the way — even these past weeks as they prepare for world finals.

"Odyssey of the Mind has a lot of ups and downs and there's always a problem to solve," Sophia said. "We always work as friends."

They created a set on wheels in the garage of co-coach Anne Marie Mayer. They made props and sewed teeth costumes out of white sheets and a tooth fairy get-up out of colorful cupcake wrappers, being resourceful in adhering to a $125 budget.

A buck-toothed donkey was made from a broken holiday reindeer decoration that they covered with brown furry material. They found the makings for their wooden set in a Dumpster and got to work fixing it up

"My favorite part was working with the power tools," said Ethan Westbrook, 10, who along with other team members got some instruction from parent Joe Mayer, on how to safely use a power saw, staple gun and drill press.

All that work paid off when winners were announced, and the Deer Park kids heard that they were moving on. They also received the coveted Ranatra Fusca award — the highest honor awarded in Odyssey of the Mind.

That's a pretty big deal.

And it's a tribute of sorts, to the late gifted teacher, Lynelle Edgemon, who was the most successful OM coach in Deer Park History. Edgemon's team won the world competition 13 years ago, the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She retired but continued to coach a team her grandson belonged to, along with parent volunteer, Anne Marie Mayer. When she died on Jan. 1, 2013, her daughter, Beth Hoffmeister, who teaches science at River Ridge Middle School, stepped in to help.

"They were such a good group of kids," Hoffmeister said. "As a teacher I know how regimented the classroom can be with all the testing. It's been so fun to see them come here to let things flow and watch their creativity."

That team finished fourth at states.

This year's team, has a couple of new faces, and is now headed to world.

They, too, have a chance to win, but even if they don't, getting this far is something to be proud of.

"I think we will do pretty well," Jillian said. "But if we don't win it's just the experience that counts."

   
Comments
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

At a news conference on Wednesday, Nocco identified the officer as Richard Stackon, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1994. Stackon has spent "several years" as an SRO, Nocco said, and he had nothing in his file "that stands out." Around 1 p.m., Noc...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18

Battle continues over west Pasco school rezoning

Jim Stanley does not give up without a fight.The west Pasco County parent who brought down the school district’s 2017 attendance zone revisions, leading the administration to change its procedures along the way, has filed a new challenge to the syst...
Published: 04/24/18