April 5, 2017 Edition

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WRHS team extends tradition with
strong showing in Odyssey of Mind

Taylor Fiedor (from left), Krystin Wallace, Drew Davis and Josh Jones qualified for World Finals by placing second, in division III, at the state competition held Saturday in Mayflower. Their coaches are Blaine Davis and Teri Jones.

The Lawrence County School District in Walnut Ridge continued a strong tradition in Odyssey of the Mind competition by qualifying once again for the World Finals.

On Saturday, Walnut Ridge High School team members Drew Davis, Josh Jones, Krystin Wallace and Taylor Fiedor qualified for World Finals in problem 3, "It's Time, Omer," placing second, in division III, at the state competition held in Mayflower, said Tonda Brand, gifted and talented coordinator who oversees the OM programs.

The Lawrence County School District has been involved in Odyssey of the Mind for at least the past 25 years and has sent 11 teams to the World Finals, making their first debut in 2005 at the University of Boulder in Colorado. During that year, Shawn Kelly and Cheryl Dail coached the "Hula Hotties," consisting of Rachael Jackson, Brent Smith, Hunter Moody, Garret Culbreath, Natalea Foster and Nicholas Dail in Stunt Mobile, division II.

The momentum continued in 2007 with two teams traveling to Michigan State University. The returning team, along with Ashley Harris and coaches Brent Miller and Cheryl Dail, competed in, "The Large and Small of It," division III and the, "I'm Only Thinking of You," division II team, also known as "The Grasses," consisting of Logan Brady, Alex Long, Range Weeks, Wayne Wallace and coaches Terry Wallace and Tonda Brand.

In 2008, Odyssey of the Mind brought the district back to World Finals with Brittney Pinkston, Shalia McCall, Logan Brady, Range Weeks, Alex Long, Wayne Wallace and coaches Terry Wallace and Tonda Brand competing in "The Wonderful Muses" division II, at the University of Maryland.

In 2011, two teams returned to Maryland with a division I team competing in "LeTour Guide," with team members Brighton Brand, Slade Dalton, Jaden Darris, Krystin Wallace and Zackary Osburn, coached by Tonda Brand, and a division II team competing in "Full Circle" coached by Tracy Jared and Terry Wallace and consisting of Cortney Winston, Austin Jared, Matt Woodson and Damon Wallace.

Iowa State University hosted the 2012 World Finals with one team from Lawrence County School District participating. The team comprised of Cortney Winston, Josh Jones, Austin Jared, Damon Wallace, Brianna Nunley, Matthew Woodson, and coached by Tracy Jared and Terry Wallace, competed in, "To Be or Not to Be," division II.

Jennifer Biggers, coached Elijah Biggers, Isaac Biggers, Nash Gill, Sydney Burgin, Mattie Craig, Katie Kersey and Shyanne Foley to the 2013 World Finals at Michigan State University, where they competed in, "The Email Must Go Through," division I."

The "Not So Haunted House," division III, team consisting of Austin Jared, Megan Jared, Matthew Woodson, Katie Woodson, Damon Wallace, Tristan Hoffman and Josh Jones, coached by Tracy Jared, competed in 2014, at Ames, Iowa.

Mrs. Jared coached the team back to World Finals in 2015, at Michigan State University. Blaine Davis and Teri Jones became the division III, coaches after Mrs. Jared and have continued to advance their teams to World Finals with team members: Drew Davis, Josh Jones, Creeden Lee, Krystin Wallace and Damon Wallace.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program on the regional, state and World level, consisting of five problems and three divisions. Students from all over the United States and approximately 25 different countries come together to compete with various solutions for each problem.

"The gifted and talented program is very appreciative of the continued support received from administration that has allowed students to participate in Odyssey of the Mind," said Brand.

"The program is also appreciative of all the parents who have allowed their children to participate and to the many volunteers who have judged and coached throughout the years. Odyssey of the Mind is made up of volunteers and without them, the program wouldn't exist," she added.

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