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GMC Prep students take on the world, gained lifelong skills

GMC Prep students take on the world, gained lifelong skills The Union-Recorder A group of Georgia Military College Prep students recently journeyed all the way to Iowa State University in Ames, aiming to hone their creative-thinking and problem-solving skills in a global competition. They came back winners, finishing sixth in the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) World Finals. Nearly 700 teams from across the world participated in the three-day events. The GMC squad’s accomplishment was no small feat. Katie Bershadsky, Elliot Fairbrass, Liam Fairbrass, Sarah Poole, Colby Smith and Tori Spivey were facing stiff, but friendly, competition from about 60 other teams (including eight from other countries) in the Earth Trek division. Their mentor, Emily Fairbrass, cheered them on at every turn as they built a car that could travel through more than four separate environments. GMC’s Odyssey team followed in the footsteps of thousands of OM squads that originated in 1978. Dr. Sam Micklus, of Rowan University in New Jersey, founded the Odyssey events, initially challenging students from kindergarten through college to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices. Dr. Micklus believed in process, however messy, more than stipulated end results. He emphasized taking risks, trying something new, breaking standard rules and not being afraid to be wrong. In a word, thinking creatively was his singular goal. The Odyssey of the Mind has stayed true to that task for the past three decades. Our six GMC students have made Dr. Micklus, Emily Fairbrass and the GMC staff and our community proud. They developed team-building skills, applied new knowledge to novel situations, became more confident in themselves and learned that there is not necessarily one right answer to any given problem. Those understandings can certainly pave the way into adulthood for these prep school youth. Besides making ingenious discoveries, they helped each other become better learners. The true value of learning extends beyond the classroom as a life-long, evolving process. These six local students have made an excellent beginning toward that lifelong journey. Creative thinking and problem solving skills are highly sought in the workplace and these youth have a head start on realizing the importance of further refining those skills.