Orezzoli said she and her husband, James, helped with an OM team last year and decided to take on a team this year. Four of the seven pupils hadn’t competed in an OM event, which made Saturday’s divisional first place all the more exciting, she said. The team’s results were among the last to be announced, she said, and pupils were nervous about the outcome.
“We were really shocked and surprised,” Orezzoli said. “We got first — that’s so great. … I got teary-eyed.”
The Sidney Elementary School team included Elizabeth Bargher, Anna Dewey, Parker Hinkley, Anthony Morris, Ayden and James Orezzoli and Payton Rosen. The pupils are in first through fourth grades.
Besides finding creative and imaginative avenues to solve the problem, the pupils also learned about cooperating and putting together a skit, she said.
“They listened to each other,” Orezzoli said. “They were able to come together.”
Ayden Orezzoli, 7, her son, said he enjoyed his role as a “fruit dog” in the skit that took place in the “Candy Kingdom.” He had participated in OM projects before but this year was his first time competing, and he said winning first place was “great.”
Stacie Haynes, BOCES coordinator of enrichment services and director of the Regional OM, said among the goals of the event is to offer a positive stage for students. Coaches are to be “hands-off” in the solution-finding process, she said.
“It’s really empowering to students” Haynes said. Though the format is competitive, judges are trained to find reasons to award points, not penalize students, she said, and students are to leave the event having had an “awesome experience.”
“There are so many wonderful things,” Haynes said.
“It’s really a feel good program.”
Other first-place teams were:
• Problem 1 — Pet Project: Sherburne-Earlville in Division 1; Holy Family in Division 2; and Laurens Central School in Division 3.