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Area students headed to global competition

Students across our area are preparing for a big international competition. It's all about problem-solving and thinking outside the box.

MILFORD, Pa. — Watch the video above, and you'll hear the sounds of young minds at work.

That balloon pop you hear is part of a Rube Goldberg device designed by Delaware Valley High School students.

"Rube Goldberg devices are something that makes a simple task more difficult by adding multiple components. So, our simple task was closing a door, and we added a whole bunch of other things in to make it more difficult and take a lot more time than simply shutting a door," explained Jessica Rule.

And that second sound you hear is a small structure getting crushed by more than 1,200 pounds of weight. That's how much it took to break this high school group's design.

"This is a 15-gram structure, which weighs the same as three nickels," Ben Bailor said as he showed us the design.

These impressive feats of engineering are headed to a global stage.

It's all part of a unique competition for middle and high school students called Odyssey of the Mind.

Teams are given a problem to solve at the beginning of the school year. They spend months coming up with a solution, which they then present through a theatrical performance.

These Delaware Valley Elementary students went with a medieval theme for their skit.

"We have to put weight on the structure to close the drawbridge because the enemy kingdom is invading," third grader Dominic explained, who plays the role of a king.

They're just one of several teams in our area that qualified for the World Finals this year.

They'll meet students from other countries across the globe, including Poland, China, and South Korea, just to name a few.

"It reminds you that it's not just you doing this. It's just this whole giant community, which is always nice," said Abby Zimmerman from Delaware Valley High School.

Most of the high schoolers have been doing this for close to a decade, gaining life skills along the way.

"You're more prepared to deal with things, and you're more flexible," said Roxann Cauchi, also from Delaware Valley High School.

"Most of my life has revolved around this, so just dedication and committing to something, and putting my all into it," said DVHS student Emma Allen.

"Personally, I've gained public speaking skills because when you go on to that stage, you are in front of people that you've never met before, but you can't get scared because you have a skill to perform. You have a show to sell, that you have to just do it," said Olivia Rowehl, another DVHS student.

The teams are headed to Michigan State University next week for the big competition.

If you're interested in starting an Odyssey of the Mind team at your school, there are grants available. Find out more information here.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.  

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