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WHS Odyssey of the Mind Team Prepares for World Finals

One senior will graduate at the competition

May 10, 2019

Wakulla High School’s Odyssey of the Mind team is excited enough after winning at State competition, qualifying them for World Finals May 22-25 at Michigan State University.

But the choice to miss the WHS graduation ceremony May 24 or miss competing at World Finals was a tough one for senior Jake Greene and his family.

Greene will now participate in a graduation ceremony held every year at World Finals for seniors who are missing the ceremonies at their own schools.

“It was a hard decision for Jake, but he went to World Finals with WHS in 2017 and really wants to be there for his team,” said Maggie Greene, Jake’s mother. She will accompany the team to Michigan to watch her son graduate. Jake’s father Travis Greene will be home taking care of the rest of the family, but hopes to watch the graduation ceremony via video.

The 40th annual World Finals will host 825 teams of over 6,000 students. WHS will compete with students from 47 states and 25 countries in the world’s largest creative problem-solving competition.

The winning 2019 WHS team consists of senior Jake Greene; juniors Abigail Gray, Ally Harden, Zoie Hill, Jay Jacob, and Ashiera Preston; and freshman Abbi Hatfield. Coaches are WHS Engineering Academy teacher Christopher Stearns and WHS Reading Coach Angie Gentry.

Two years ago, the first Odyssey team in Wakulla’s ten years of participation made it to World Finals. Five WHS students on the 2019 team were also on that winning 2017 team: Jake Greene, Zoie Hill, Ally Harden, Jay Jacob, and Abigail Gray.

“It was an awesome cultural experience for Jake and the whole WHS team two years ago. They were paired with students from Poland last time and made lifelong friends.

“This year WHS has requested being paired with Hong Kong. Jake and the team have worked all year towards this Odyssey goal, and he wanted to see it through. We respect his choice,” Mrs. Greene added.

Besides carrying a current weighted grade point average of 3.73, Jake has been a WHS Band member for four years playing the saxophone, plus was in Band at Riversprings Middle School all three years. He recently earned the award of Special Achievement in Band from WHS Band Director Elizabeth McManus.

“We appreciate all the support from WHS Principal Mike Barwick and Superintendent Bobby Pearce regarding our Odyssey World Finals accomplishment, and their understanding of how important both participating in the WHS Graduation ceremony and competing in World Finals are to Jake,” said Coach Stearns.