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WVMS Odyssey of the Mind team places first at finals

on May 29, 2019

The Warwick Valley Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team had a strong showing at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in East Lansing, Michigan and placed first in the Problem I, Division II category.

The team competed in the problem-solving and creativity contest against more than 60 teams from around the world, including China, Japan, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, India and Mexico. The finals took place over the course of several days at Michigan State University.

The team, comprised of Naa Korkoi (Kooki) Aryeetey, Ava Gell, Olivia Holland, Alexa Keys, Julie Woods, Jay Seward and Rachel Powers, are coached by Rekha Woods and Donna Denny. The team won by a ten point margin and captured first place for their Division II presentation of Problem I: “OMER to the Rescue, Again.”

In this problem, each competing team had to create an original 8-minute performance that included:

  • OMER and his sidekick traveling to different places,
  • one or two suitcases that hold all the parts of the OMER-mobile,
  • a team-made ride-on OMER-mobile vehicle that saves the day,
  • three rescues with accompanied actions selected from a list,
  • the vehicle being assembled and disassembled between one of its rescues,
  • a hero’s parade for the OMER-mobile; and
  • five style elements including two that are chosen by the team

As with all O.M. competitions, teams are scored for following the restrictions and guidelines of a given problem, their long-term problem solution, how well they solve a “spontaneous” problem on the spot, and their “style” — the elaboration of their long-term problem solution.

O.M-ers reflect on their experiences

The team didn’t return home with just a medal. According to the group, the memories from this year’s competition season are what really matters.

“World Finals was a life-changing experience,” Olivia said. “We saw the top teams from each state and country interpret the problem, and saw how creativity brought us together.”

“I learned from this experience that hard work does pay off in the long run. When you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, just remember: if you believe in your teammates and you give it your best efforts, anything is possible,” Jay said.

“Bonding and working with my teammates over the course of the season has been amazing,” Julie added. “I believe that I will take experiences and friendships with me for the rest of my life.”

“I feel that [Odyssey of the Mind competitions’] are less about the place you end up in and more about the journey you created in order to get there. The memories and jokes you have with your team are worth more than anything,” Naa Korkoi said.

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