Boozarpour Coaches Odyssey World Finals

Marko Durovic, Staff Writer

“Odyssey of the Mind” is not your typical competition. It is designed to test creativity and intuition by giving teams open-ended problems and challenging them to create unconventional solutions. The problems assigned can range from performing a skit to building a contraption.

Junior Omid Boozarpour is coaching the JM 8th grader team, which made it through to the world finals of the contest. “There’s two components to the competition, one half they (the students) prepare over the course of three months, starting in August, and then compete for the first time in February. The second half is done on the spot with the materials given. It is completely random. There is no way to prepare because they have no idea what the assignment will be.”

There are three stages of the competition. The first is a regional competition, such as the San Francisco Bay Area tournament. Winners then progress to a state-wide tournament at the beginning of March.

Those who make it past the first two rounds are invited to the world tournament, which is held in the United States. Teams from all round the world participate. This year the competition will be held at Michigan State University from May 22 to May 25.

There are 4 divisions: elementary school, middle school, high school and college. Each year teams choose the category they will be participating in for the first part of the competition. They prepare over a 3-month long period.

Coaching a middle school team is not an easy task, according to Boozarpour. The coaches have to put as much time and effort into it as the participants themselves, and there are serious rules they have to follow as well. Boozarpour said, “There are really strict rules about what coaches can and can’t do, and they take it really seriously. I can’t exactly tell the team what to do, all I can do is guide them in the right direction.”