By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Medina will once again be the gathering place for young problem solvers, as the annual Odyssey of the Mind competition comes to the high school this weekend.
Twenty-nine teams of students from Orleans, Niagara and Erie County will compete Saturday in a series of competitions testing their creativity.
Medina has a handful of teams competing at multiple grade-levels, including a team of eighth-graders who’ve been together for six years and two trips to the state competition after winning at Medina. Nick Bogan, Aeddon Cayea, Martha Gardner, Sarah Granchelli, Madeline Winters and Kristian Snyder finished in tenth place at the state competition last year and hope to do even better in 2013.
The team has met weekly since October at Oak Orchard Elementary School to develop their eight-minute presentation, which shows an e-mail going to various recipients, some intended and some not.
The task is one that multiple teams will attempt to perform, but the storyline, setting and props are all created by each team.
Medina’s team is telling the story of friends who seek to answer an age-old question — “why did the chicken cross the road?” They email a friend who has a book with the answer, but the friend’s responding message detailing how to get the book from a safe hits a spam filter and goes to the wrong address — that of the safe’s guard.
“The email must go through,” Cayea said Sunday during a practice session in explanation of the challenge. “Tech makes life easier, or does it?”
For the project, students built a safe and a network server that carries messages shot across it by an old vacuum cleaner. On Sunday, students finished working on the set and play acting through the performance with laughter.
“It’s fun, but it all pays off in the competition,” Bogan said.
Teams are graded for their performance, style and a spontaneous challenge at Saturday’s competition. Eighth-grade team coach Nicole Goyette said her team has proven to be up to the challenge over the past years.
”It’s a good team,” said Goyette, who also serves as the director of the Medina tournament. “They picked the hardest of the five challenges.”