Johnstown, Broadalbin-Perth schools headed to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Five youth with medals

Johnstown’s senior Odyssey of the Mind team, the “Energentic Engineers,” will be heading to their fifth World Finals at the end of May. The team is coached by Joe Naselli. Pictured left to right: Alex DeMagistris, Molly Sweeney, Tyler Hutchison, Trey Naselli, and DJ Long.

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FULTON COUNTY — A band of students from Fulton County are set to embark on an odyssey to Michigan in late May. 

Learners from Broadalbin-Perth Central School District and the Greater Johnstown Central School District will compete among more than 700 teams at this year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Placing high in the global rankings in an uphill battle. 

“Honestly, the biggest thing a team could hope for is to make it to the World Finals,” said BPCSD spokesperson Michele Kelley. “Getting a trophy at the World Finals is extremely tough because you’re going against teams from all over the world.”

Here’s how the program works: teams compete in age-separated divisions to solve respective problems with limited time and resources, and then solutions are scored by judges. Adult assistance is prohibited. 

In order to get into the global competition, schools have to score high at state-level tournaments. 

Johnstown’s senior Energetic Engineers team has consistently placed first in regional challenges for nearly a decade and once statewide. The team — Alex DeMagistris, Molly Sweeney, Tyler Hutchison, Trey Naselli and DJ Long — since elementary school have been to five World Finals.  

For its third consecutive appearance at the World Finals, BPCSD will be represented by juniors Logan Aery, Jaciano Carrero, Lauryn Donahue, Blaine Herrick, and Jacob Hughes, as well as sophomore Ryan Michalski. The Great Sacandaga Lake area school system has been involved in the 45-year-old program for at least 15 years, Kelley maintained. 

“It’s great for getting [BPCSD’s] name out there, but more importantly it’s great for the participating students because the Odyssey of the Mind program really teaches a lot of those 21st Century skills employers are looking for,” said Kelley. 

DeMagistris, of Johnstown, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the New York State Odyssey of the Mind Association, Inc. at this year’s state tournament. Six teams from GJSD attended the Geddes, Onondaga County competition. 

While it’s not clear how long Fulmont area schools have been involved in OOTM, newspaper records show that teams from the Canajoharie Central School District had competed in a number of tournaments as far as the early 1990s. 

Today, a number of local school districts are involved the program, including Northville, Fonda-Fultonville, Dolgeville and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville. 

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

Categories: -News-, Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Other

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