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Third-graders Place Seventh at Odyssey World Finals

A district third-grade team placed seventh in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

Caledonia’s team tackled a No-Cycle Recycle problem that required them to build, ride and drive a no-cycle, recycling vehicle that was no bigger than a five-foot-by-five-foot box. Two team members had to fit in the vehicle, pedaling could not be used and they were required to pick up trash and discard it without touching it. As part of their presentation they worked with a volcano eruption using “elephant toothpaste” and grew grass.

Team members were Elijah and Caleb Pleune, Adlai Kersey, Liz Hilton, Brody Siler and DJ Potgeper.

The Caledonia team that won seventh place in the World Finals

Coaching the Caledonia team was Caryn Kersey, who’s been a coach for eight years. She admits she was surprised when her students got seventh place out of 54 teams. Her goal was to make it to the state finals, she said.

The awards ceremony was held over Memorial weekend at a large arena at Iowa State University. Organizers pulled out all the stops with lasers, music and the teams “entering like the Olympics marching in,” Kersey said. The top six were announced at the ceremony and the rest of the results were posted. “When they looked at the list and saw their name at seventh place, they gasped,” she recalled. “They were jumping up and down.”

Lori Hilton, mother of one of the Caledonia team members and a second-grade teacher at Emmons Lake Elementary, said Odyssey has taught students how to think creatively and work together to find a solution to a problem. “It was great to see how this trip to the world finals in Iowa brought them closer together as a team,” she said.

They also formed new friendships with students from the International School of Geneva, their “buddy team” from Switzerland, Hilton said.

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Odyssey of the Mind

Here are the Kent ISD schools that sent teams to Odyssey World Finals

Previous SNN article about Odyssey of the Mind

Elephant toothpaste volcano

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.

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