Odyssey of the Mind teams brings home top honors from regionals


Katie Gruninger, Web editor

Odyssey of the Mind groups have been working on two different long term group projects since the start of the year. Their work culminated with two first place wins at the regional competition in Jacksonville, North Carolina March 4.

The teams were led by technology coordinator Mike Phelan, math teacher Suzanne Pack and English teacher Joanne Juco. To compete, the students presented their long term projects and solved a spontaneous project on the day of competition.

The group “Ready, Set, Balsa,” led by Phelan, included juniors James Craddock, Angela Anacleto, Teresa Mejia and Everett Meekins, and senior Joshua Pack. The group worked on a balsa wood project that had to do with the how much weight the structure could hold.

The balsa wood structure held 157 pounds of weight during the skit. The OM members had to perform a skit about a  man was in the middle of a highway with a broken down truck, and as the main character was trying to fix the truck everything was falling apart. To tie in the balsa wood structure to the skit, the group had a tree as a prop with a branch that was about to break. As more weight was added, the branch became closer and closer to breaking, until the branch fell on the truck when the balsa wood structure collapsed.

“I think we did well because our structure was built through a lot of trial and error and because our group as a whole got along very well,” Mejia said.

The second group “It’s Time, Omer,” led by Pack and Juco, is made up of students sophomores Andrew Mallory, Noah Gross, Ryan Braswell, Hunter Hogan-Schaible, Zach Fisher and Aiyanna Mourino. The students focused on a long term project that involved time travelers visiting two classical artists to discover that the OM mascot, Omer the raccoon, inspired the works of art.

“We were able to use the 3D printer to make the piece of art that would be used for the future piece,” Braswell said. “Having the 3D printer was helpful because 3D art is futuristic itself.”

The students painted Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” and Rachel Ruysch’s “Fruit and Insects” for the two classical pieces of art.

“Our problem was fairly unique in that it involved a raccoon going through time to inspire art,” Mallory said. “We chose to do art because we thought it would make the skit look much more interesting and unique. We did not want the skit to be bland.”

Both teams claimed first at the regional competition, qualifying them for the state competition April 1 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.