After placing second in Delaware's state competition, two Wilmington Montessori School teams were invited to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals
at Michigan State University from May 22 through May 25.
For this STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, students worked together to find creative solutions to problems, create large projects without the help of their parents, present their solutions to judges and answer additional questions on-the-fly, showing their ability to improvise and think quickly. Parent coaches supported them throughout the process, but were not allowed to help with the solutions to the problems or construction of the projects. Odyssey of the Mind is known as the largest creative problem-solving competition in the world!
Twelve WMS students and 19 of their supportive family members traveled to Michigan State University to the World Finals, joined by more than 8,000 participants representing 13 countries and 33 U.S. states.
The World Finals began with an opening ceremony, featuring a parade of teams similar to the Olympic opening ceremonies. Jordan Ranji and Isabel Snyder were selected by their teammates to represent their teams in the parade.
The competition was spread over three days. Each team had to present its long-term performance and also participate in a spontaneous question section. The Pet Project team (Ariel Shweiki, Adin Shweiki, Alex Ropars, Jordan Ranji and Charlotte Davey) placed 26th out of 55 teams from all over the world and were proud to finish 9th in the spontaneous portion of the competition. The Email Must Go Through team (Isabel Snyder, Evan Bastianelli, Lauren Jones, Lauren Aussprung, Sarah Breger, Jackson Politis, Annabelle Damude) placed 22nd of 64 teams. By all accounts, they made WMS and the state of Delaware proud!
There was much more to the Odyssey of the Mind experience than just participating in the competition. Our teams worked together to unpack props for their performances and repair those that were damaged during transportation. They also went to see other teams perform, traded pins with students from other states and attended a Creativity Festival. The Creativity Festival encircled Michigan State's Jenison Fieldhouse and included carnival-like games set up by 19 states and three countries. The Delaware booth had a chicken catapult where partners launched stuffed animal chickens and the other partner had to try to catch the flying chicken in a basket. Florida had a giant hamster wheel where a human was the hamster and your running shaved ice for a snow cone. Teams also visited other parts of campus like the 4H Children's Garden and the MSU Dairy Store and experienced dorm life. Their favorite part of staying in college dorms was the "cereal station" at the dining hall.
Another highlight of the Odyssey of the Mind experience was spending time with Buddy Teams. WMS's teams were each paired with a team from Singapore, They ate meals together and spent free time getting to know them, talking about what their school is like and what things they like to do in their free time. The teams exchanged small gifts with buddies and supported each other by attending their performances.
Many thanks to the parent coaches who supported all of our Odyssey of the Mind teams throughout the year and to everyone who donated funds at the auction to help them make this amazing trip!
WMS is proud of all of our students on the five teams that participated in Odyssey of the Mind this year, taking part in the regional and state-wide competitions. To view pictures from throughout the season, check out this album