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Wakulla Teams Shine at State Odyssey of the Mind Competition

April 14, 2018



“It was a fantastic experience!” agreed several Wakulla student participants about the Florida Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament on April 14, 2018 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  Hundreds of students from kindergarten through college-age attended. 


Wakulla’s Odyssey of the Mind teams from Crawfordville Elementary, Medart Elementary, Shadeville Elementary, Wakulla Middle and Wakulla High (two teams) competed at the tournament.


These six Wakulla teams had qualified for State competition with their high scores from the Emerald Coast Regional competition in Crestview, Florida on March 3.  


State results put all the Wakulla teams ranking well in their age divisions and problem categories.  They earned points for their Long Term Problem Solving, Spontaneous Problem Solving, and teamwork.


Wakulla High School had two teams coached by teacher Morgan Jackson, with help from teachers Wendy McGuire and Holly Harden.  “Both teams did a tremendous job,” said Jackson.


WHS Team 1 ranked 3rd out of 9 teams in their category, earning a trophy and individual medals.


WHS Team 1 members are Nathan Cushard, Zoie Hill, Jake Greene, Russell Fleming, Abigail Gray, Ally Harden, and Jay Jacob. 


They chose the Long Term Problem category of Vehicle where they designed, rode on, and drove original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They scored points in curling, hitting the right targets when jousting, and running track by navigating a course in two directions.


WHS Team 2 placed 7th out of 14 in their category.


Team 2 includes Giselle Almanzor, Keira Cushard, Makenna Roddenberry, Celestia Walker, Travis Morgan, and Makenna Callaghan.


They chose the Long Term Problem category of Performance.  The scenario took place in the outreaches of the universe, where there is an Intergalactic Hangout. There all sorts of creatures from different worlds socialize.


Crawfordville Elementary placed 7th out of 21 teams.


Coached by teachers Heather Hatfield and Kirsten Brazier, CES Odyssey participants are Cole Randolph, Emma Larson, Ellie Hazen, Kelsey Sanders, Abigail Lee, Sydney Baker and Sam Bruce.


CES also chose the Long Term Problem category of Performance.  The scenario takes place in the outreaches of the universe, where there is an Intergalactic Hangout.  The CES team created a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that included original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure.


Medart Elementary’s Intermediate team (Grades 3-5) placed 12th out of 19 teams in their category.


Coached by teachers Melissa Jackman and Sandra Whaley, Medart Intermediate team members are Isabella Ayotte, Fletcher Brown, Alexis Green, Brooklynn Green, Kyrin Hand, Logan Hand, and Skyler Harrell.


Medart chose the Vehicle Long Term Problem where they designed, rode on and drove original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon.


Shadeville Elementary’s Intermediate team came in 7th out of 20 teams in their category.

Coached by teacher Kerry Adams, SES team members are Raena Taylor, Emil Bendeck, Kendall Coleman, Brody Beam, Sophie Stalvey, Colt Giddens, and Emily Zak.

Shadeville chose the Classics Long Term Problem which involved creating a “Mockumentary”. The team presented different characters from a classic in a humorous documentary-style performance where details were added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed.


Wakulla Middle School‘s team came in 8th out of 22 teams in their category


Coached by teacher Katrina Roddenberry, team members are Abbi Hatfield, Tristan Silcox, Chase Morgan, Dawn Moody, Peter Arbogast, Matthew Ayotte, and Amara Cotroneo.


WMS picked the Performance category for their Long Term Problem.  The scenario is the same as the elementary one of an Intergalactic Hangout, but more depth and complexity are expected from the older students as they created a humorous performance centered on the science fiction hangout that included a search for space treasure with a futuristic map.


Says Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “Odyssey of the Mind is one of many ways our students have opportunities to be creative and think outside the box.  I congratulate our Odyssey participants and their coaches who put in a lot of hard work into problem solving all year. These skills are definitely helpful in any area of life.”


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 creative solutions to problems that may include technical, mechanical, communication, structural, and performance aspects. 


Each team scored a certain number of points from the “Long Term Problem” they have been working on all year, plus scored points from a “Spontaneous Problem” that they were handed for the first time to solve at the State competition. 


Teamwork was also rated by the judges.  All 7 members on each team had to compromise, listen, and debate to solve their problems.  “They worked so well together to get the job done,” says WHS parent and volunteer coach Wendy McGuire.


While the five categories of Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Structure, and Performance stay the same each year, the scenarios for each category change annually.


Says WMS coach Katrina Roddenberry, “I was so proud of the way our students performed in competition and also got the most out of the day meeting other schools’ team members and enjoying the beautiful UCF campus.  This experience will stay with them for a lifetime.”