MOUNT CARMEL - Two teams of seven students from Mount Carmel Junior/Senior High School will travel to Michigan later this month to take part in a world competition.

The students will compete at the Odyssey of the Mind (ODM) World Finals in East Lansing May 22 to 25. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.

Teacher Jesse Wagner, who coaches one of the teams, said although the kids are prepared to take the big stage, they need some big help to get there.

Sponsors are being sought to offset the cost of the trip. Several fundrasiers are also planned, including a junior high dance May 17 and a spaghetti dinner May 19.

Monetary donations are encouraged. Checks can be made out to Mount Carmel Area School District, care of ODM. They can be sent to 600 W. Fifth St., Mount Carmel, Pa., 17851. Sponsors who donate $50 or more with have their business name printed on the back of the teams' T-shirts.

Solving problems

The teams qualified for worlds by placing second in their respective problem and division during a state competition April 13 at Pocono Mountain East High School in Swiftwater. In previous years, several teams from Mount Carmel have qualified for worlds, yet this will be the first worlds appearance for this set of students.

At worlds, team members will work together to solve two problems: a pre-designed problem that must be performed in eight minutes or less, which is scored out of a possible 200 points; and a spontaneous answer to a problem they never saw before, which is scored out of a possible 100 points.

'Odd' musicians

Team one, coached by Corey Lombardo, will tackle "It's how you look at it." In this problem, students must create and present an original humorous performance with two characters that appear "odd" to those around them. The skit must include a scene where the odd behavior is considered normal.

Team members are eighth-graders Kasey Rompallo, Aleah Alderson, Timmy Glowatski, Tommy Cichon, Carl Darrup and Alyssa Menko; and seventh-grader Ben McFadden. The team placed second out of 12 teams at states.

The team developed a skit that centers around the story of musicians from different planets who find that their music is not well received on other planets. At the end of the skit, the musicians sing in unity after discovering that music brings all different types of people together.

In preparation for competition, students fabricated costumes, created original lines and made props,

Kasey Rompallo, who has been participating in ODM on various teams since first grade, said that although her team will probably not place first at worlds, she will have fun trying.

"It's really a big thing," Rompallo said of ODM. "We made states a few times, but never worlds. It's exciting."

Timmy Glowatski, who has also been active in ODM for several years, said he enjoys the program because it's an activity he can participate in after school.

Sending emails

Team two, coached by Wagner and Andrew Yaracz, are solving "The Email Must Go Through." Requirements are to create and present an original performance that includes a technical representation of emails that require a return receipt, a work of art as an attachment and one that goes through a spam filter. The "emails" must travel eight feet and can not be touched by students.

Team members are juniors Cody Deitz, Jesse Hoffman and Jonathan Phillipine; sophomores Caitlyn Curran, Joey Rompallo and Shamus McGovern; and freshman Luke Darrup. The team placed second out of ten teams at states.

The team built a 10-foot long machine that operates like a pinball and Skee-Ball game that transport the email the required distance. The contraption consists of several pieces made primarily of wood.

"We made it with whatever was laying around the classroom," Wagner said. "We had a cost limit."

Students performed a skit that explains how they solve their problem, which incorporates characters from popular fairy tales, such as "Three Little Pigs," "Jack and the Beanstalk," and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."