By Tamas Mondovics

Hard work and problem solving skills paid off last month for a team of FishHawk Creek Elementary School students, who were representing the school’s first ever Odyssey of the Mind Team.

The Florida Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition involving students from Kindergarten through college, providing teams of five to seven students with the opportunity to learn creative problem solving, teamwork, brainstorming, self-reliance, and respect for individual strengths.

Backed by school principal Pam Bush and two teacher volunteers, Sarah Clarke and Jennifer Fowke, the six-member team, including John Annett, Blake Bole, Bradley Carlson, Findlay Hartman, Kaylee Matteis and Leela Walbolt, won first place in the Division 1, No-Cycle Recycle Regional Competition held last month at Strawberry Crest High School.

The entire regional competition, also known as the Buccaneer Bay Region of Florida Odyssey of the Mind Association, saw more than 100 teams participating from six counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Hardee and Desoto.

Competing against 14 teams in the No-Cycle, Re-Cycle Problem category, the young team built a Scooby Doo themed mystery recycling vehicle to ride on, which was to travel without pedaling for propulsion while picking up discarded items, adapting them and, then delivering them to places to be re-used.

The students developed their storyline involving two eco-systems; the Coral Reef and the City of Miami. The Coral Reefs were being destroyed by a monster. The team recycled and repurposed items from each eco-system to help solve the mystery. The vehicle transported the driver and an assistant between the eco-systems. The entire problem was developed and executed without adult assistance. 

“I am proud of our team,” Bole said, while teammate Hartman added, “I’m super excited that we won the regional tournament. The team is very creative, and works great together. We’re excited to compete at the states.”
Summing up the students’ success, team parent Kellie Bole said, “Having won first place at regionals our school’s first year has really put a spot light on Odyssey of the Mind within FishHawk Creek and the community.”


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