Odyssey of the Mind teams excel at Worlds
Teams from the Greater Johnstown School District and Broadalbin-Perth Central School District competed May 22 through 25 at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.
The Johnstown team – eighth graders from Knox Junior High School known as the “Energetic Engineers” – posted an impressive showing this year, coming in sixth out of 63 teams, according to Team Coach Joe Naselli. He said he was very proud.
“Absolutely,” Naselli said. “They did a tremendous job.”
The team did even better than it did in June 2018 as seventh graders. That Knox team then finished 18th out of 69 teams in the Odyssey of the Mind’s World Finals in Iowa.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in a productive environment by solving a problem. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential, educators say.
This year, Energetic Engineers had a creative skit — or long-term problem — related to disassembling a vehicle and reassembling it using a suitcase. Naselli said the skit involved a vehicle built from scratch.
“I think they had a very unique solution to their problem,” Naselli said.
The team this year finished sixth in the division II level of the “OMER to the Rescue, Again” problem. This problem required the team to carry the parts of their team-made vehicle into the performance area in two suitcases, assemble, and ride on the vehicle. If that wasn’t hard enough, they then had to disassemble and reassemble the vehicle again all within the 8 minute skit. Their theme revolved around NASA and a deep space rescue.
The Energetic Engineers qualified for the New York state final competition three consecutive years by winning the Region 21 championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
While at the Odyssey World Finals, the Energetic Engineers were paired with a buddy team from Russia. The buddy team had students of similar ages to the Knox Jr. High team. They were able to make new friends, learn about Russia culture and schools, and participate in activities together. The buddy teams exchanged gifts from their home countries and attended their new friends’ performances to cheer each other on.
Students on the Knox team included: Trey Naselli, Maddy Connelie, Tyler Hutchison, Alex DeMagistris, DJ Long, Molly Sweeney and Garrett Bobowski.
B-P’s Odyssey of the Mind team comprised of seniors Rhys Floyd, Erin Morrison, and Ava Naple, and juniors Caylie Bleyl and Avery Fenton, finished in the top five in two events at the World Finals.
The BPHS team, coached by Dave and Megan Floyd, advanced to the World Finals after placing second at the state championship in both problem 2, “Hide in Plain Sight,” and problem 5, “Opposites Distract.” B-P’s team prepared one solution that solved both long-term problems.
“It truly is an incredible accomplishment just to make it to World’s competition,” said Megan Floyd. “For them to go four times in their career and place in the top five in both problems this year, B-P has much to be proud of with this team.”
The competition pitted the B-P squad against 55 teams from countries all over the world, including Germany, Poland, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Qatar, Mexico and the United States.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.