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Odyssey of the Mind Wins at Competition

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On Apr. 8, Bellaire’s Odyssey of the Mind team, comprised of juniors Skylar McAuliffe, Stephanie Sonik, Elizabeth Szafranski, Jacob Tate, and Scott Williams, headed to Waller, TX to compete in the state competition. Odyssey of the Mind, (OM) is the largest problem solving competition in the world, with students of all grade levels building and performing in order to make a creative solution. The team had placed 1st in the regional competition, and worked hard in order to prepare for State, where the competition was steeper. Competing in the “Catch us if you can” problem, the team had to build three different vehicles with different distraction methods in order to evade someone pursuing them.

The competition began early in the morning, with teams competing in spontaneous rounds. They had a limited amount of time to create responses to a prompt. Later in the day, the teams would perform their long-term skit, which was the problem they had been preparing for all year.

Then began the process of perfecting all of the materials for their skit. Teams could be seen with rolls of duct tape, and hot glue guns scattered around, adding the finishing touches on all of the props and materials. Junior Jacob Tate noted the team’s efforts on perfecting their props and performance.

“Props are a big part of the visual element in the competition,” Tate said. “Putting a lot of effort into how your set looks can really make a difference with the overall feel. Sometimes, it can even add an extra boost to your score. It is also cool to go around and look at how hard all of the teams worked on their props.”

After the performances, the teams all had the opportunity to discuss their scores. Since the competition had a variety of problem choices, going over scores was an important part of the competition. Junior Elizabeth Szafranski talked about how team critiques were important to being successful in Odyssey.

“There’s no outside assistance, and so there isn’t anybody there to help you improve,” Szafranski said. “The scores allow you to look at everything you’ve done, and see your strengths and weaknesses to help you do well.”

The competition ended that evening with the awards ceremony where OM scholarships were announced, as well as the various awards which included 1st through 3rd place for the problems. Omer awards were given for unique moments seen in the competition, and Ranatra Fusca awards were given for outstanding creativity. Since it was a state competition, the 1st and 2nd place winners would advance to the World Finals, where teams from around the world would compete.

Bellaire won 2nd place in the “Catch Us if You Can” category, and will advance to the World finals with the Clariden School, to represent the high schools of Texas Odyssey of the Mind in Michigan, May 24-28.

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Odyssey of the Mind Wins at Competition