February 22, 2019
Eight Wakulla County Odyssey of the Mind teams took first place in their divisions and qualified for State competition with their scores from the inaugural Nature Coast Regionals hosted by Riversprings Middle School on February 16. Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving challenge.
Teams from Crawfordville Elementary, Medart Elementary (two teams), Shadeville Elementary, Riversprings Middle, Wakulla Middle and Wakulla High (two teams) now advance to State competition on April 6 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
These 8 Wakulla Odyssey teams beat out teams from public, private, magnet, charter, and home schools in the Nature Coast Region that includes Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties.
Divisions that Wakulla students participated in were Division I (grades K-5), Division II (grades 6-8), and Division III (grades 9-12). Division IV is at the college level and scholarships may awarded to Divisions III and IV students.
Wakulla High School senior Giselle Almanzor won a $500 Odyssey of the Mind scholarship.
“The scholar ship is intended for high school seniors intending to attend a post-secondary educational institute. The recipient must have been active in Odyssey of the Mind for at least two years, and should be able to articulate what Odyssey of the Mind has meant to them, what they learned as a result of participation in Odyssey of the Mind, and how they intend "give back" using what they learned as a participant in the program,” explains Becky Dinkins, Director of the Nature Coast Region of Odyssey of the Mind.
An OMER Award went to the Medart Elementary team who chose the Structure Problem of building with balsa wood that had to stay intact while being tossed in a carnival game, then withstand weights being added. The OMER award is a special award for teams who best demonstrate the spirit of Odyssey of the Mind with teamwork and creativity in their problem-solving.
Each team of 7 students had to score a certain number of points from the “Long Term Problem” they have been working on all year, plus score points from a “Spontaneous Problem” that they were handed for the first time to solve at the competition. There are time limits, spending limits, and very limited adult interaction, according to the Odyssey rules.
Teams chose one of five Long Term Problems. While the five categories of Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Structure, and Performance stay the same each year, the scenarios for each category change each year.
There is also a K-2 Division that Medart Elementary participated in with one of their three teams. The K-2 Division is not eligible for State competition. Riversprings Elementary also participated and came in second in their division.
Each of the following Wakulla County teams had a first place finish in their division, qualifying them for State competition:
Crawfordville Elementary’s team (grades 3-5) is coached by teachers Kirsten Brazier and Heather Hatfield. Members are Sam Bruce, Cole Randolph, Sydney Baker, Sylvia Boykin, Tucker High, Aaron Jones, and Trinity Eugene. They earned first place for their Performance Problem in Division I.
Medart Elementary had two teams earn first place, both working on different problems.
Coached by teachers Betsy Jones and Glenda Hance, members are Hayden Jones, Logan Hand, Hunter Hartsfield, Allison Wilsey, Isabella
Ayotte, and Brooklynn Green.
They chose the Structure Problem of building with balsa wood and glue that had to bear Olympic-size weights.
This Structure Problem Medart team also won the OMER Award, a special award for teams who best demonstrate the spirit of Odyssey of the Mind with teamwork and creativity in their problem-solving.
The next Medart team earned first place for the Vehicle Problem in which they designed, built, and demonstrated their vehicle. Coached by teachers Sandra Whaley and Melissa Jackman, students are Trenten Barwick, Anarosa Callejas, Corbin Ferreira, Alexis Green, Kyrin Hand, Gabriel Harrell, and John Sanders.
Shadeville Elementary, coached by teachers Amy Seidler and Kerry Adams, also won first place in Division I for their Technical Problem solution. Team members are Brody Beam, Jackson Crow, Kiley Lafferty, Kaylie Kosek, Emily Zak, Ella Zak, and Cadence Gouker.
Riversprings Middle landed a first place score in Division II for the Structure Problem of building with balsa wood that could withstand being in a carnival toss and surviving that, the structure had weights added to it to see its strength.
Coaches are teachers Jessica Yarbrough and James Daniels. Team members are Emil Bendeck, Kendall Coleman, Sophia Kamal, Mahala McDonald, Jacobi McQueen, Damon Rich, and Raena Taylor.
Wakulla Middle placed first in Division II for the Performance Problem. The team created and presented a humorous performance with the theme of “Opposites Distract”.
Coached by teacher Katrina Roddenberry, team members are Peter Arbogast, Matthew Ayotte, Jordyn Hatfield, Sara Lloyd, Dawn Moody, Chase Morgan, and Kelsey Sanders.
Wakulla High School is fielding two teams working on two different problems, both coached by teachers Angie Gentry and Christopher Stearns.
The team of Abigail Gray, Jake Greene, Abbi Hatfield, Ally Harden, Zoie Hill, “Jay” Jacob, and Ashiera Preston placed first in Division III for the Technical Problem of building a mechanical creature which had tasks to perform.
The next WHS team won first place in the Performance Problem in Division III. This team consists of Giselle Almanzor, Makenna Callaghan, Reagan Corley, Mackenzie Crockett, Travis Morgan, Tristan Silcox, and Celestia Walker. The team created and presented a humorous performance with the theme of “Opposites Distract”.
Giselle Almanzor also won an individual scholarship of $500 which she can use towards college expenses.
Teams who qualify at State advance directly to the World Finals as representatives of the United States in international competition against teams from over 25 countries such as China, Japan, Australia and Germany and over 40 U.S. states.
One Wakulla High School team qualified for World finals two years ago and had an “unforgettable cultural experience” according to former Odyssey coach Nick Weaver, current principal of Shadeville Elementary School. This year, Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will be held May 22-25 at Michigan State University.
Says Superintendent Pearce, “Using teamwork, cooperation, and creativity to problem-solve are important skills we want our students to have. Good luck to our Odyssey of the Mind teams as they compete at the State level on April 6.”