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ARLINGTON, VA — April 13, 2010 — Over 150 elementary students from two DoDDS Pacific Schools in Japan met at Sullivans School to compete in an ‘Odyssey of the Mind’ tournament on Saturday, April 3, 2010. The goal of this enrichment program is to encourage students to develop creative thinking and to promote team building skills. Teams from Byrd Elementary in Negishi, Japan, and The Sullivans School in Yokosuka, Japan, worked after school for the entire school year to solve a specific problem. They then brought their solution to compete in the tournament.

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international educational program designed to provide creative problem-solving opportunities for students at every educational level, kindergarten through university. Team members brainstorm to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Parents and teachers serve as advisors to the teams, but the students do the actual work. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and about 25 other countries participate in the program. Derek Allen, a first grade teacher at The Sullivans School and an OM coach, said, “It was great to see the students’ enthusiasm, spontaneity, and creativity on Saturday.”
Activities on Saturday included the competition performances by the sixteen OM teams, an OM Team creative problem solving egg hunt and a use-your-imagination-show by Sullivans’ fourth-grade teacher-magician, Michael Applegate. OM teams spent the day building and driving a human-powered vehicle, a camping-trip vehicle, making and operating a series of aircraft that completed a variety of flight plans, discovering two archaeological treasures, designing and building balsa wood columns to balance and support weights, and defending a food item under the accusation of being unhealthy. The day culminated with a special surprise party.
The success of this event is not only due to the dedication of the OM students, but also due to the encouragement from over fifty parents, teachers, sailors and other community members who spent countless hours serving as coaches and judges for Odyssey of the Mind. The OM students and coaches also wish to acknowledge the support of, and thank, the Yokosuka Officers Wives Club, The Sullivans School PTO, Kinnick High School Band, Color Guard, and the Yokosuka Middle School National Junior Honor Society. For more information on Odyssey of the Mind, go to