Odyssey of the Mind returns for second year, experiences success at competition

Odyssey of the Mind returns for second year, experiences success at competition

Joce Ramirez, Staff Writer

This marked the second year for the school to participate in the Odyssey of the Mind competition.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides a creative way for children and teens, from kindergarten through college, to solve problems. Members of the team apply their creativity to accomplish tasks that range from building mechanical devices to presenting interpretations of literary classics.

Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think differently by providing open-ended questions that appeal to a wide variety of interests. Students are free to express their ideas and suggestions without the fear of criticism, which means students can come up with many solutions to solve problems given assistance from their teammates or “think outside the box.” While thinking has an important role in the well balanced education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively. 

“It’s an awesome club that challenges you to think outside of the box.  It is difficult, but rewarding and fun at the same time,” junior Josh Pack said.

There are three teachers involved, English teacher Joanne Juco, technology coordinator Mike Phelan and math teacher Suzanne Pack. This year the students worked in two different teams. These coaches are limited in helping students, but they enforce supervision, guiding students in the right direction and time management.

One team is building a structure that will hold a certain amount of weight in the challenge. The other is trying to build a vehicle that is powered by pedaling.

“On my team, Everett, Columbus, and Michael are working on our balsa wood structures. Caleb, Coleman, and Ben are working on our Car,” Phelan said.

They have to work together in order to solve the challenge and present it at the regional competition against students from other high schools in the area.

Additionally, students have to do a “spontaneous problem” where they are given a word problem they must solve in five minutes, at the most, on the day of the competition.

Participants began meeting to work on their problem at the beginning of the school year, but they had a summer program that helped with problem solving skills.

At the coastal region tournament March 12, the school won two awards.  Phelan’s team won first place in the Division III Problem #4 Stack Attack.  His team included Michael Yllanes, James Craddock, Columbus Dong, Caleb Aitken, Ben Chandler, Coleman Williams and Everett Meekins.

“It was a long day filled with fun and honestly, I think the trip was well worth it,” Craddock said.

Pack’s team won second place in the Division III Problem #1 No Cycle Recycle.  Her team included Noah Gross, Joshua Pack, Dale Ward, Taylor Weaver, Katherine Rabanal, Angela Anacleto  and Sophia Farrow.

“It was really fun to be able to be there with my team to perform our skit ‘No cycle Recycle’,” Farrow said.

The teams competed at states at Wingate University April 2.

“To me, it was a great experience visiting a new diverse place like that of Wingate University,” Anacleto said. “It was great to see people with the same interest in problem solving, all coming together to share their different ideas.”