May 2, 2007 Edition

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Wayne Wallace (from left), Alex Long, Logan Brady and Range Weeks present their Odyssey of the Mind problem for students in fifth through eighth grades at a performance held last Friday.

WR OM teams win at
state, advance to world

Nicholas Dail (left) and Hunter Moody perform with other members of the Walnut Ridge Senior High Odyssey of the Mind team in a presentation held last Friday.
The Walnut Ridge Junior and Senior high Odyssey of the Mind teams won first place in the state competition held April 14. They will advance to the world competition in Lansing, Mich., on May 23-26, where they will compete against teams from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries.

Both teams performed their problems last Friday for students in fifth through eighth grades.

The junior high team includes Logan Brady, who has been a member of OM for two years; Alex Long, a four-year member; Wayne Wallace, who has also been in four years; and Range Weeks, who is a three-year member.

Their problem "I'm only thinking of you," included creating and presenting an original humorous performance with a self-centered character (SCC) and a surprise.

Team members agreed that coming up with an idea for the problem is the most challenging part of OM. What they like most about it, they also agreed, was the chance to be creative.

"OM is my chance it really express myself," said Long, "a chance to really be 'out of the box.'"

Coaches for the junior high team are Tonda Brand and Terry Wallace.

The senior high team, which includes Hunter Moody, Natalea Foster, Ashley Harris, Brent Smith and Nick Dail, are coached by Brent Miller and Cheryl Dail.

While this is Harris' first year as an OM member, her teammates have a lot of experience, Dail is a seven-year member; Foster, a five-year member; Moody, a four-year member; and Smith a three-year member.

Their problem, "The Large and Small of It," required the team to create and present an original performance integrating team-created Small Pages and Large Versions that change appearance.

The team said they have enjoyed working on their project and competing and are looking forward to world. One reason the team has advanced so far, according to Foster, is that they work very well together.

"We all have a really good relationship," she said, "and are really close outside of OM."

They agreed that their friendship has allowed them to be successful in their long-term projects, such as skits, as well as spontaneous problems where the judges grade on teamwork.

"We appreciate our coaches," Foster said, adding that without their hard work and time they could not have made it to world.

Brand, GT Coordinator at Walnut Ridge, said she appreciates the administration for all their support and the parents for allowing their kids to participate.

"It takes parents' cooperation and support from our administration to make it work," she said.

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