For the fourth year in a row, Newtown High School Odyssey of the Mind team members are gearing up to offer the annual Bunny Watch, a fundraiser for the group to attend the World Finals of the problem-solving competition.
Odyssey of the Mind is the largest intellectual competition in the world. Teams of up to seven students select and solve one of five long-term problems that they present at the annual state competitions. The top 30 teams in each competing state then head to World Finals, where teams from more than 30 countries come together in the spirit of international competition. This year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will be held at the end of May in Ames, Iowa.
A number of Newtown’s Odyssey of the Mind teams will be attending World Finals.
(Click here to see how Newtown’s Odyseey of the Mind teams did at the recent Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind state competition.)
This year’s Bunny Watch is set for 10 am to 4 pm, Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19. It is once again being held on the Fairfield Hills campus, behind Glander Field. Rides will cost $5 per person and each participant will be given a tally sheet to “count” each bunny seen along the path.
Odyssey of the Mind coach Robin Fitzgerald said her team will be hosting this year’s Bunny Watch, and members of her middle school team will assist them. The high school team won First Place in Division 3, Problem 3, and was one of three Newtown teams to earn the Jill Riggles Award at the Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind.
Odyssey of the Mind team members who will be hosting the Bunny Watch this year are Zachary Weiland, Hannah Fitzgerald, Sydney Chiarito, Jesse Sailer, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jacob Emmerthal. The team is additionally coached by Shannon Mulligan, and Jana Emmerthal.
Parent Robert Emmerthal, who has helped with previous Bunny Watches, said he will again be assisting with providing the hay rides and the tractors for the rides. He also said he has friends who will be offering tractors for the rides.
Bunny Watch will raise funds for the high school team to attend World Finals. The team, Mr Emmerthal said, is not sponsored and unfunded.
“We work with the Parks and Recreation Department and the Fairfield Hills Authority to put on our event,” Mr Emmerthal wrote in an e-mail to The Bee recently.
Mr Emmerthal explained each Bunny Watch participant is given a tally sheet and pencil to “count” the items and bunnies they see along the ride, which last approximately 15 minutes. The $5 fee per rider is payable by cash or check. Mr Emmerthal also said the hay wagons, which are donated for use by a local farmer, used for the Bunny Watch are pulled by antique tractors, also locally owned and operated.
Other Easter-themed activities will be provided during the Bunny Watch, according to Mr Emmerthal. An inflatable slide and refreshments will also be available during this year’s event.
Ms Fitzgerald also said she expects other Newtown Odyssey of the Mind teams that are set to attend World Finals to hold fundraisers in the coming weeks. Sponsors interested in helping the teams cover the cost of attending World Finals can contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.