Middle School Takes Odyssey of the Mind

Ethan Baez, Reporter

Recently, the middle school students of OCSA competed in the annual Odyssey of the Mind regional tourney. The OCSA Ledger had the opportunity to discuss the event with the school’s team sponsor, Mrs. Johnson.  

What is the Odyssey of the Mind?  

“It is a worldwide competition where kids are given a five-page packet of things they are allowed to have and things they are not allowed to have with no outside assistance, and they have to use all these modifiers to solve a certain problem.”  

What kind of problems are they asked to solve?  

“They’re not normal problems. They’re more scenarios. Like I could say for last year, they have a character named Omar, he’s a little racoon guy, and for the artists, they had to go back in time and see how artists then would be inspired to create Omar, then they had to go into the future and create the same thing but in future standards. This year I’m not allowed to reveal anything, nor are the students.”  

What does Odyssey of the Mind mean for our children? 

“Well, as I said, it’s a competition, and we recently had the competition that decides whether or not certain teams get to the state competition at UCF. From that competition, one of our six grade teams have earned the privilege to go to UCF in April, and hopefully we get to go to Iowa from there. If our team makes it that far, then they get to put it on the resume and it looks really nice for potential employers and colleges and such.”  

What happens at the competition?  

“Well there’s two sections at every competition. There’s the first one, which is the one the groups signed up for and practiced for months, and then there’s the spontaneous section, where their either asked questions to answer or given things on a table and told they have to do something with those things. Nobody is allowed into the second segment so I don’t know much.”  

Is this for just middle schoolers?  

“No, it’s open to everyone. Schools are split in divisions from elementary to even college, like division one to division four. Our middle schoolers are division two. There are scholarships available for the upper classmen going into college.” 

If someone wanted to be a part of Odyssey of the Mind, what would they have to do?  

“In the beginning of the year we advertise, so look out for us in the announcements or out on the courtyard. We meet in my class every Tuesday after school, get groups together, and then from there we work and get ready for the competition. That being said, we try our best to work outside of school because if we want to win then we definitely need more than the half hour every Tuesday. There are fees, but we fundraise and break it up amongst everyone who is a part of the program.”  

The OCSA Ledger will have more updates to come as to whether or not the sixth graders will move on to the worldwide section in Iowa, which we should know by the end of April. We wish them the best of luck!