Photo: Wakulla High School Odyssey of the Mind Team A with their structure that held 395 pounds.
Seven of the eleven Wakulla County Odyssey of the Mind school teams qualified for State competition with their scores from regional competition in Crestview, Florida on February 13, 2016.
Riversink Elementary, Shadeville Elementary, Riversprings Middle Team B, Wakulla Middle Teams A and B, and Wakulla High Teams A and B will now advance to State competition on April 9 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. There teams can qualify for Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held in May at Iowa State University.
These seven Wakulla Odyssey teams beat out teams from public, private, magnet, charter, and home schools in the Emerald Coast Region spanning from Leon and Wakulla Counties west across Florida’s panhandle to Pensacola in Escambia County.
Just five years ago, Riversink Elementary School entered the first Wakulla County public school team in this international competition. From then, Odyssey of the Mind has grown to capture the interest of all the Wakulla public schools, now entering a collective eleven teams.
Odyssey of the Mind is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1978 by Industrial Design professor Dr. Sam Micklus to encourage students to “think outside the box” in finding solutions to real-world problems they may encounter in the workforce and in their lives.
This annual competition of thousands of international teams has limitations on money that can be spent on materials and restricts coaches and parents from solving the problems for their students. All brainstorming, building, writing, sewing, and painting must be done by student teams of no more than seven members.
There are four age group divisions: Kindergarten through Grade 5; Grades 6 through 8; Grades 9 through 12; and a college division that awards scholarships.
Teams who win at State competition advance directly to the World Finals as representatives of the United States in international competition against teams from over 25 countries such as China, Japan, Australia and Germany.
There are five main categories to each year’s competition with specific problems changing every year. Categories are Mechanical/Vehicle; Technical Performance; Classics; Structure; and Performance.
Riversink Elementary competed in the Structure category where they had to design, build and test a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that balanced and supported as much weight as possible – twice. They came in first place with 70 pounds and qualified for State competition.
The Riversink team consists of Chase Morgan, Legion Taylor, Ben Vaughn, Hallie McClintock, Johnathan DeProspero, Presley Jones, and Taylor Thorne. Coaches are teachers Katie Hart, Melissa Martin, and Katrina Roddenberry.
Shadeville Elementary chose the Classics category where they had to create and present an original performance about a fable gone “viral” throughout the community and beyond and show how wrong conclusions can be corrected. They came in second place and will go on to State competition.
Shadeville’s team includes Hannah Vossler, Keira Tuten, Haley Perry, Dean Daniels, Austin Brown, Rosalie Fountain, and Mahala McDonald. Their coach is teacher Amy Seidler.
Riversprings Middle School Team B chose the category of Structure, also designing, building and testing a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that balanced and supported as much weight as possible – twice. They came in second place with 210 pounds and qualified for State competition.
Riversprings Team B consists of Bailee Bendeck, Mackenzie Crockett, Gabe Dutton, Jayven Hearns, Zoie Hill, Xander Johns, and Brittney Raley. Coaches are associate deans Megan Crombie and Stan Ward.
Wakulla Middle School Team A chose the Mechanical/Vehicle category where they had to build, ride on, and drive a no-cycle, recycling vehicle. They had to pick up discarded items, adapt them, and then deliver them to places to be reused without using peddling for propulsion. With a first place finish, they also qualified for State competition.
Wakulla Middle’s Team A consists of Raul Wickham, Travis Morgan, Victoria Dichio, Lily Stolk, Tyler Saulter, Abigail Hatfield, and Emma Lloyd. Their coach is teacher Mallory Harrison.
Wakulla Middle Team B chose the Structure category, also designing, building and testing a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that balanced and supported as much weight as possible – twice. Holding 190 pounds, their structure came in third place and qualified them for State competition.
Wakulla Middle’s Team B is made up of Hayden Whitfield, Matthew Neet, Dominiqua Ivey, Andrew Buchleitner, Erik Chason, Tristan Silcox, and Keira Cushard. Their coach is teacher Tanya Shivers.
This was the first year of Odyssey competition for Wakulla Middle School.
Wakulla High School Team A also chose the Structure category of designing, building and testing a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that balanced and supported as much weight as possible – twice. They came in first place with a structure holding 395 pounds, qualifying them for State competition.
Wakulla High’s Team A includes Dylan Franck, Genesis Knight, Devin Lehrmann, Dalton McCulley, Carlos Mendoza, Nick Samlal, and Daniel Sloan. Teacher Nicholas Weaver is their coach.
Wakulla High School Team B also chose the Classics category where they had to create and present an original performance about a fable gone “viral” throughout the community and beyond and show how wrong conclusions can be corrected. They came in second place and will go on to State competition.
Wakulla High’s Team B is made up of Giselle Almanzor, Virginia Appleby, Kaylie Cain, Makenna Callaghan, Nathan Cushard, Shawna Gray, and Celestia Walker. Teacher Nicholas Weaver also coaches Team B.
The other Wakulla teams who competed also made a strong showing at regionals even though they did not qualify for State competition.
Crawfordville Elementary came in second place in the Performance category where they created a performance that included an original song and dance plus they made their own costumes and built all the scenery.
Crawfordville’s team includes Penny Corbet, Luke Harden, Tres Panzarino, Micah Vansyckle, Jordyn Hatfield, and Ian Wickham. Their coaches are teachers Kirsten Brazier, Renee Kelly, and Holly Harden.
Medart Elementary competed for the first time and chose the category of Classics, also presenting an original performance of a fable gone “viral”. They came in fifth place.
Medart’s team consists of Maverick Stubbs, Zhaniya Reed, Peter Arbogast, Marcus Pineirovigo, Britton Nichols, and Kathleen Jacob. Their coaches are teachers Susan Tillman and Kendall Watson.
COAST Charter School competed for the first time with an elementary team. They also chose the Classics category and placed sixth.
The COAST team includes Leonardo Rivera, Tatiana Rivera, Peyton Kearce, Hannah Crosby, Benjamin Sawyer, Steven Graffeo, and Saige Haifley. They are coached by teachers Maribel Rivera and Arianne Morgan.
Riversprings Middle School Team A also chose the Performance category where they created a performance that included an original song and dance plus they made their own costumes and built all the scenery. They placed seventh.
Riversprings Middle Team A consists of Analise Bracci, Farrah Bratcher, Gracie Bruce, Kyle Floyd, Abigail Gray, Annika Gunnarsson, and Jessica Starling. They are coached by teachers James Daniels and Laura Hume.
Laura Hume also coordinated Odyssey of the Mind events for the entire district.
All the teams worked on solutions to their Long-Term Problem for months after school under the supervision of their coaches. Many of the problems incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills, with NASA usually sponsoring one of the five problems each year.
Additionally, each team had to solve a Spontaneous Problem that was given to them at the time of the competition. Teamwork, listening skills, and creative problem-solving points all were added to their final score.
Says Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “I am proud of all of our Wakulla teams who have practiced countless hours to prepare for competition. Odyssey of the Mind exemplifies exactly the type of real-world problem solving skills that we want our students to leave our school system with. Congratulations go out to the students, coaches, and parents who have put so much into this.”