Stratfield 5th-graders extend 'Odyssey' to finals in Michigan
Six Stratfield Elementary School fifth-graders are so adept at putting their heads together to solve a problem that they're going to Michigan State University.
OK. Maybe not to enroll, but to test their problem-solving skills against similarly talented students from around the globe in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
The Stratfield team won the trip to East Landsing, Mich., later this month after a second-place finish in the kindergarten-through-grade five division at the Connecticut state finals, the school's PTA said.
Odyssey of the Mind is a competition for students in kindergarten through high school and involves tens of thousands of teams in the U.S. and about 25 foreign countries. Students are challenged to be creative and collaborate to solve problems ranging from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.
The Stratfield team includes Claire Cherniske, Blake Holroyd, Brodie Hopkinson, Brigid Keary, Michael, McAleese and Maeve McManus. Theirs was among six teams from Stratfield and Tomlinson Middle School to compete at the April 6 state finals in Bristol.
From a list of five problems, the Stratfield fifth-graders chose "ARTchitecture: The Musical." To solve the problem, teams had to create and present an original performance that included a replica of a documented architectural structure that was built between 1,000 A.D. and 1,600 A.D., according to contest rules. The performance had to include two songs accompanied by choreography, works of art that disappear and two characters who go on a quest to find them.
The Stratfield team built a replica of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and its musical component included dancing gargoyles. Judges placed them second, behind a team from the Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies in Danbury.
"Winning (the trip) was just the icing on the cake for an already excellent experience," Keary said in a news release issued by the PTA. "It was exciting every week seeing the kids working and struggling together and becoming more confident in themselves and each other as they really evolved into more creative thinkers."
The world competition in Michigan is May 22-25.
Fairfield schools that have participated in the past include Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Fairfield Woods Middle School, North Stratfield Elementary, Mill Hill Elementary and Burr Elementary.