Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TWO World Champion OM teams from our town!

Last year, I bragged about some of my students who competed and did well at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.  It's time to brag again!  Here in Oklahoma, our thumbs are in our suspenders and we are burstin' our buttons with pride at the success our teams had at World Finals this year.

Oklahoma strong, fresh from the tornadoes but ever persevering, we had three teams called to the stage at the awards ceremony on Saturday, May 25.

The first (I will write about them in another post) earned Second Place in Problem Four, Division IV (collegiate.)  Yay, Ron and Tracy!

The other two teams?  All MY KIDS!  Here we are after winning, with two FIRST PLACE trophies.

These two teams are made up of kids I've encouraged, coached, taught, and enjoyed for years.  The younger group, from Stillwater Junior High, were almost all my students from second grade through fifth grade.  This is the same team that almost won last year (with a couple of roster changes.)  I wish I could take credit for their success, but they worked for many years to get here - I was just happy to be along this year for the ride.

The older kids are my ex-high-school team.  Two of them (my son Robin and his friend Mason, shown above in 2007 during their team's first visit to World Finals) were among the very first OM team members in Stillwater, when they were in sixth grade and we started two teams here (2006).  They've continued every year since, topping out at Fourth Place their Junior year.  This year, in their freshman year at Oklahoma State, they brought OM Division IV to OSU and formed a team (adding two ex-opponents from Edmond that we've become fast friends with over the years.)  (More on this team, their solution, and their extraordinary friendship later.)

Both teams have worked for years to get called to that stage, and we couldn't have been happier to hear our names called.  What a great year for Stillwater and Oklahoma!

You want to know more about the winning solutions, right?

The junior high team, competing in Problem 2 "The Email Must Go Through" was required to "send" three "emails" eight feet across the stage using some technical means (remember that in Odyssey problems, the team must meet certain requirements, but do so in the most creative way they can.)  This team chose to utilize an Oklahoma forest as their setting, and brought in forest creatures like an armadillo (completely covered in pop tabs), a beaver (layer upon layer of coffee stir sticks), a buffalo, a spider, and an owl (her costume, although it looks soft and fluffy, is almost 100% milk jugs, cut into thousands of feathers.)

Their emails were sent via an "automata" (more on that will come soon), a mechanical device with a crank, crank-shaft, and a variety of levers which was used to move the email messages across the stage.  Their "spam filter" (required element) was the spider's web, which sorted and delivered the emails to three different locations.  One email was diverted (required element) by a tornado.  This team didn't just SAY a tornado blew the email off course - they actually created a spinning, whirling tornado that swept across the stage.  You can see it near the beginning of the performance on the video (sadly, their performance was a bit off that morning, but they did earn all the points they needed.)

Here is the video of their performance:
Last year, this team took first place in Long-term and first in Style, but had a rough (rough) day at Spontaneous, which is the portion of the competition where the teams are given a challenge to solve instantly.  We worked hard this year to improve our spontaneous performance, and (drum roll, please) this team took first at spont this year!  Their long-term was also first, but only by a HALF A POINT, and they were second in style.  Spontaneous can win and lose OM competitions, we can tell you!

Tomorrow, I'll write about the OSU team and showcase their performance!

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