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Strawberry v. Carrot sends middle school to state competition
Mt. View Middle School students act out their parts for the Food Court play they created to compete with over 20 schools at the state level in Odyssey of the Mind. Pictured from left to right: Alexia Nunes as the almond, Kila Coffey as the onion, Morgan Nunes as the bacon, Makenzie Neves as the strawberry, Seth Bewley as the carrot, Taylor Jordao as the stinky cheese and Ileana Trujillo as the grape. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
Memorizing the dates of important events in American history, learning to add fractions, and practicing grammar are all things students are required to learn in school, but there is no requirement to practice thinking outside of the box to enhance creativity.  
This is where the competition Odyssey of the Mind steps in to challenge students all over the nation to think creatively — a competition in which Mt. View Middle School has excelled, placing them at the state level today to battle with over 20 groups from across California.
“In school, we are just studying but the competition is something more,” said Makenzie Neves, a seventh grader who participated in the Odyssey of the Mind. “The competition helped us excel.”
In the Odyssey of the Mind competition, groups can pick between five different problems where they show how creative they are. Students from Mt. View Middle picked problem five called Food Court. The Food Court problem is to “create and present a humorous performance where one food item accuses another of being unhealthy or bad in some way, and that food item has to defend itself,” according to the Odyssey of the Mind information packet.  
The seven students who put together the food court play definitely thought outside of the box — or outside of the refrigerator in their case.
Each student dressed up as some type of food ranging from stinky cheese to a carrot to bacon for their regional winning play.  
The entire play, created by the students, tells the story of a strawberry who has an orange spot on her skin from the carrot and is not too happy about it. The strawberry, also known as Neves, was so unhappy that she took the carrot, also known as eighth grader Seth Bewley, to food court. The play ends with a blender and a vegetable drink.  
Each team is judged on their creativity, performance, humor and other scoring requirements.
This is the second time that Mt. View Middle has made it to the state level after competing for the last three years, said Tina Nunes, Mt. View coach for Odyssey of the Mind.   
“It is a really cool thing because we are a small country school competing against bigger schools,” said Stacy Bewley, mother of the carrot.
To win the regional competition, Mt. View beat out 13 teams — three of which were Turlock schools.  
Each student said they felt like they learned how to work together as a team, responsibility, life skills and how to be more creative after putting together their Food Court play.
“I learned cooperation with six girls,” Seth said being the only guy working on the play.
“You learn to use your mind a lot,” said Taylor Jordao.
Other participants agreed with Jordao and said they felt like they expanded the way they think.
“We weren’t used to being that creative,” said Morgan Nunes.
The Mt. View Middle School team will compete today at the state level in Brentwood. The top two teams from each state will compete on the national level.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.