Odyssey of Mind Team Wins Regionals

Genie Lee, Staff Writer

An Odyssey of the Mind team comprised of Campolindo juniors Andrea Calderon, Jake Oxendine, Michael DaRodda, Kendall Schmidt, Grace Shi, and Maria Wong earned the top  prize using creative thinking, a bit of drama, and quick judgement during regional competition on February 27 in front of a panel of judges.

The team will advance to the state competition where they will compete for a berth in the world championships.

The regional competition included 5 long-term problems provided to teams in advance.  Teams were allowed to select on of those problems to address in an 8 minute performance. In addition, the teams were presented with an “on-the-spot,” short term problem called Spontania Mania. The Spontania Mania problem was in the form of one of three categories: hands-on, verbal or verbal hands-on. Only 5 team members were allowed to address the short term problem during competition.

Although the long-term problems were the main focus of the competition and weighted heavily, Spontania Mania was also a factor in the final score.

The teams were presented with the long-term problems in August.

Problem 1, No-Cycle Recycle, challenged teams to build a vehicle that picked up discarded items and deliver them to places to be re-used. In problem 2, Something Fishy, the teams created three different ways to “fish” in order to catch three different objects. The Classics problem 3, titled Aesop Gone Viral, challenged teams to present a play depicting one of Aesop’s fables gone viral, or spread throughout a community.

Teams who chose problem 4, Stack Attack, created a structure made out of balsa wood and glue that could hold as much weight as possible.

Furs, Fins, Feathers and Friends was Problem 5, where teams were required to present a humorous performance from the perspectives of three different animals who tried to solve a conflict.

The teams were divided into 4 divisions for the competition. Grades K-5 were in Division I, Grades 6-8 were in Division II, high schoolers were put in Division III, and college students made up Division IV.

For Problems 1, 2 and 4, the expense limit was $145 while Problems 3 and 5 had an expense limit of $125.

“It’s really cool being high school kids because there are a bunch of smaller kids and it’s cool seeing what they get to create and Spontania Mania is really fun because there are so many different Spont problems and each year we have different ones and it’s cool just going there and having so much fun doing it,” said Oxendine.

6 year veterans of the program, Oxendine and his team chose to tackle Problem 3, Aesop Gone Viral. They chose the Aesop fable “The Donkey and his Buyer,” with the moral of being careful of the company one keeps.

To make the fable go viral, “We had to use 3 different methods. The first one, we made a Japanese woodblock print that was spread all over Japan. We also wrote a poem telling the story and we also made lanterns that we floated over Japan,” explained Oxendine.

The team placed 1st, winning in each category.

“I really enjoy Odyssey because it’s something that allows you to create whatever you think about and it’s really cool how you can turn everyday objects into something really cool and meaningful; something special,” said Oxendine.

Wong, who has been participating in the program for 3 years, said, “I just really like the idea of collaborating with other people and creatively making something that you’re able to present and just the fact that the competition keeps you going.”