CLARKDALE - Seven Clarkdale-Jerome School students will be off to Ames, Iowa, May 22 to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind 2012 World Finals. The team has already taken first place at the regional competition in Flagstaff in March. That was followed with a second place finish at the state competition, which qualified them to compete in the World Finals.
Fourth graders Ethan Rebenschied, Olivia Grasso, Anya Kline and Olivia Gordon along with fifth graders Dallin Gordon, Aubrey Boulet and Colton Sorensen make up the Odyssey of the Mind team for Clarkdale-Jerome.
Janae Gordon has coached Odyssey teams for five years, and Nicole Gordon has coached for two years. "But this is our first year with this team," Janae said.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program for students from kindergarten through college. Teams from throughout the United States and about 25 other countries compete each year in the competition.
There are four grade-level divisions that compete all the way to the World Finals and another primary division that competes up to regional competition. The teams select from a group of five problem categories to compete in.
"Our team chose Odyssey Angels as their problem," Janae said. "It is more of a theatrical performance to show how these angels could help solve a problem in their community."
The Clarkdale team picked an environmental awareness theme of ocean and water.
"It's all team created," Janae explained. "Coaches cannot give ideas. We're there just to provide structure."
Clarkdale-Jerome Superintendent Kathleen Fleenor said it is great what this team has accomplished so far.
"They are a great group of kids," she said. "When they compete at the World Finals they are exposed to other cultures."
She explained that Odyssey of the Mind started out for gifted students, but it is now open to all students. Fleenor said that some districts have teachers dedicated for gifted students.
"We get only $1,000 from Arizona for gifted education," Fleenor said. "We've never been able to afford that."
Along with the honor of competing in the World Finals, the seven kids from Clarkdale-Jerome School also have the task of raising about $11,000 to pay for the trip.
"We don't get any school funding," Janae said. "We try to get tax credits for Odyssey of the Mind."
Anyone who wants to donate through the tax credit system will be allowed to claim the credit on their 2012 state tax return. Checks should be made out to Clarkdale-Jerome School but designated for Odyssey of the Mind.
The kids are also selling donuts and raffle tickets.
A Krispy Kreme sale will be held May 11 at the school, and a $10 raffle ticket could win up to eight people four nights and five days in Colorado, Arizona or Las Vegas at a time-share.
For information on the tax credit, donut sale or raffle tickets, call Janae Gordon at (928) 202-2100.