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Food Court: Minerva Students on Trial

HUDSON FALLS - Like peas in a pod, the jury waited, the cranky pineapple presiding over this court of comestibles. The broccoli had accused the dragon fruit and a box of cereal stood in judgment. Not the typical day at Minerva Central School, these courtroom dramas took place on Saturday, March 6 at Hudson Falls High School.

The event was the Odyssey of the Mind regional competition, hosted by the Hudson Falls Central School District and coordinated by the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES. Odyssey of the Mind is an international program that encourages creative team-building and shared decision-making among students from Kindergarten through college. Minerva Central School has been participating in this program for many years - it combines creativity, thoughtfulness and teamwork.

Six "long-term" problems were presented by teams from schools all over the BOCES area. The two Minerva teams tackled the "Food Court" problem, which was to create and present a humorous performance where a food item is accused of being unhealthy or bad in some way, and must defend itself among its food peers. A jury signals to the audience whether the accused is guilty or innocent in a team-created "trial".

The Minerva students worked on their problems and performances, preparing for several months to create props, costumes, and scripts. All creative ideas come from the students. Coach Sue Montgomery Corey, who has been coaching Odyssey teams at Minerva Central School for many years.

"It encouraged students to realize their project ideas and dreams and keeping them on track," she said of the program. "The results were terrific."

During the competition, each team had a maximum of eight minutes to present their problem and solution to a panel of Odyssey of the Mind judges.

In addition to the long-term problem, the teams were also given on-the-spot, spontaneous problems that they had to solve on their own - these are problems that they did not learn about until they were presented with them the day of the competition. Overall, the teams did well, although they did not come in first in their respective divisions. The first place teams in the Hudson Falls competition gained the opportunity to travel to Binghamton on March 27 to represent their region at the "States", which includes teams competing from regions throughout New York State.

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