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Some 5,000 students from the United States and 20 other countries will gather in College Park, Md., early next month for the world finals of the "Odyssey of the Mind'' competition.

As part of the June 2-5 event, staged with the help of corporate donations and volunteers, participants will design, build, and drive vehicles powered by mechanical jacks, present stories about imaginary dinosaurs, and perform interpretations of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, among other activities.

Students from kindergarten to college age will take part in the event at the University of Maryland's main campus.

Begun in 1978 by a professor at Glassboro (N.J.) State College, the annual problem-solving competition emphasizes creativity and teamwork.

The Odyssey of the Mind's corporate partners include the International Business Machines Corporation, which has contributed close to $1 million to the program. The company has also encouraged its employees to volunteer for the event; currently, about 1,000 I.B.M. employees serve as coaches, judges, or fund-raisers.

"We just feel there's a neat kind of dovetailing between Odyssey's innovative problem-solving competition and what it is we do at work,'' said Tom Belz, an I.B.M. spokesman.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call Mr. Belz at (202) 515-5210.

The Information Technology Foundation in Arlington, Va., has published a new guide designed to encourage information-technology companies to develop outreach programs with their local schools.

Entitled "Success 2000: A Guide to Business/Education Partnering,'' the 45-page binder outlines strategies for designing and implementing such collaboratives.

Copies are free, and can be obtained by calling Diane Greer at (703) 284-5307.

The National Association of Partners in Education this month recognized the winners of its annual Outstanding School Volunteer Awards at a ceremony in Washington.

Among the 14 winners was Scott R. Brofman, a high school senior from Armonk, N.Y., who has been involved in more than 20 volunteer activities, including tutoring and food and clothing drives.

This year's "intergenerational'' winner was Ronald K. Buff, a retired airline pilot from Greenville, S.C. Each week, Mr. Buff spends more than 60 hours at Baker's Chapel Elementary School, where he has taught aerodynamics and environmental studies and assisted with other activities.

The winners also received a trip to Florida sponsored by Kraft General Foods and Walt Disney World.--M.S.

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