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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Jun. 6, 2018 2 years ago

Holy Family Catholic School students play Odyssey of the Mind games

Seventh-graders from Holy Family Catholic School put their problem-solving skills to good use recently during the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Iowa.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

After besting 820 teams in Florida, a group of seventh-graders at Holy Family Catholic School headed west recently to participate in some serious mind games. The 39th Odyssey of the Mind 2018 World Finals competition was held at Iowa State University May 23 through 26, and about 850 teams showed off their creative problem-solving skills.


HFCS participants were Ava Durruthy, Maggie Farrell, Carly Goode, Mairin Sakata, Teresa Tomasone and Emily Wood. They participated in opening ceremonies on Wednesday before tackling the competitions and attending creativity and international festivals, NASA-sponsored events and pin-trading sessions. They also were paired with a buddy team from Hong Kong.

As part of the competition, the HFCS team performed an eight-minute piece based on a famous work of classic literature selected by Odyssey of the Mind: “Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.” They created a mockumentary with an alternate ending called “Never Again Land,” where old trends — such as the disco ball, flip phone and Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet — go to die.

In the spontaneous portion of the competition, the girls were given a problem minutes before they needed to solve it.

“OM teaches us how to think out of the box,” said team member Maggie Farrell. “We get to be creative, funny and have a blast.”

The local team did not place in the top three, but it was a great experience and will help the team build stronger problem-solving skills. Holy Family last participated in the world finals about a decade ago.

“They did an incredible job, had a once-in-a-lifetime experience and learned skills that will help them throughout school and into their careers,” said Tana Little, Holy Family’s marketing manager. “Along with all of that, they created friendships all over the world, including one with their Buddy Team from Hong Kong.”



Although the team is back from its trip, donations still can be made to offset the costs of the competition, including airfare and dorm fees. The cost to attend the competition was roughly $10,000.

The school held four Spirit Night events at area eateries, held dress-down days at the school and set up a fundraising page. To donate, go to

The Holy Family Odyssey of the Mind team, right, spent time with its buddy team from Hong Kong at the world championships in Iowa.


Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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