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Elementary students head to world competition

The Crystal Lake 4th graders took first in both Regionals and the State Competitions, now they head to the next big stage.

BENZIE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — Seven students from Crystal Lake Elementary School in Benzie County have made it to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition and will compete with tens of thousands of other students.

Odyssey of the Mind allows young students to get creative while problem solving and organizing skits based on certain challenges and criteria provided to them.

“All the ideas, all the work of the props and costumes all have to come from the students,” said Coach Karen Zickert.

The group’s skit is completely based on the students ideas and input. No parents or coaches can help in the problem solving or decision making process. They can only guide discussions.

“[Students] are graded or scored on certain elements, [their challenge selection] had to take place in space and they had to create a hang out, the hang out had to have at least three aliens and they had to discuss a treasure.” Zickert said. “They had to have a map that came from two dimensional into three dimensional, they had to have some form of entertainment and add humor to the performance.”

The Crystal Lake 4th graders took first in both Regionals and the State Competitions, now they head to the next big stage.

They will perform their nearly eight minute skit in front of judges, and also be required to do an “improv” problem solving challenge as well.

“We start brainstorming and then we vote on what all the ideas we come up with,” said Mya Main. “Oh my goodness, it’s like, is this really happening, its crazy!"

The group needs to raise nearly $9,000 for their trip.

“So we’ve been fundraising and it’s been a phenomenal community turnout,” Zickert said.

The team is one of nearly 850 teams competing in the 39th annual World Final competition. This year it's during Memorial Day weekend and will be held at Iowa State University.

“It’s our first time going to worlds and it’s really exciting because we get to meet people from all around the world,” said 4th grader and team member, Rowan Zickert.

“I’m so proud of them and so happy for them all these people coming together being creative, problem solving, it’s awesome,” Zickert said.

The groups next fundraiser is Saturday, April 28 from 11AM to 2PM at the Tractor Supply in Benzonia.

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