Odyssey of the Mind Newsome High School teammates (in order) Bradley Carlson, Blake Bole, Kayla Purifoy, Findlay Hartman and Kaylee Matteis at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

By Ariana Pedraza

Newsome High School’s Odyssey of the Mind team is making headlines again. The team has, in the past, placed fifth in the state, first in the state three times, and fourth, eighth and 11th in the world. Now, even after the hectic school year, they have placed sixth in the world. They plan to compete again in the future.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program and competition in which the participating team has to find and present a solution to a problem. They have five months to find a solution to a problem which ranges from building robots to building vehicles and structures on a $145 budget and without help from any adults. Next, they plan an eight minute play where they present their solution to a panel of judges.

They then have a second part to the competition called Spontaneous. The team is given a problem that they do not know in advance. The question could be about building (i.e., building a structure out of a given material that can hold another material) or a question where they must be creative in their answer.

When asked what her favorite thing about Odyssey of the Mind is, teammate Findlay Hartman said, “[it] encourages us to be creative. We have created some really cool solutions and robots. And since we have been together for six years, we know how to use our strengths to win.”

The team is made up of five people that have been together since they were in fifth grade, and they are now rising juniors in high school. Passing through Fishhawk Creek Elementary, Randall Middle School and now Newsome High, they have really found out the best ways to work together and play to each other’s strengths while exercising their minds and learning new things.

Kaylee Matteis explained, “Odyssey teaches me to be cooperative and accepting of others while not being afraid to share my own thoughts and ideas.”

Due to COVID-19, the competition was held at Orlando Convention Center and was virtual for teams who could not travel. This next year, the team is hopeful to compete normally with international teams.

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