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 gofundme.com/hfcs-odyssey-of-the-mind.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.