Words by Brad Shellgren, Marketing and Communications Associate
Fresh off their first and second-place finishes at the state championships, Academy’s Odyssey of the Mind teams headed to Ames, Iowa for the World Finals (May 25 – May 28). In front of a packed Hilton Arena at Iowa State University, both the Academy at the Lakes Technical and Balsa Teams performed at the highest of levels. With more than 600 teams from around the world participating, the competition was intense, but the Academy teams proved worthy. The Technical Team earned 4th place overall while scoring 1st place in Style and 2nd in Spontaneous. The Balsa Team earned 15th overall, scoring 3rd in Spontaneous.
The Technical Team was made up of Allison Fox ’25, Audrey Gorski ’25, Geno Lee ’24, Henry Levy ’25, and Eugene Ross ’24. The Balsa Team was comprised of Yasser Hussain ’24, Aarav Katwala ’24, Vir Malhotra ’24, Savina Patel ’23, and Rohan Vemuri ’24. Academy at the Lakes is extremely proud of the creativity, problem-solving, and dedication these students displayed throughout the year in making our Odyssey of the Mind teams so successful!
Odyssey of the Mind is an academic and creative problem-solving competition, where teams of 5-7 students work for months to solve a multi-faceted long-term problem. Each problem requires students to write and star in an original 8-minute performance, every aspect of which, from costumes, to set pieces and scripts, must be student-generated. Additionally, many problems incorporate a STEM challenge, such as building a vehicle, designing a device to accomplish set tasks, or building a balsa wood structure to meet specific demands. Throughout the competition, OMers (as the students are called) are asked to be as innovative as possible within the problem parameters. Once at competition, the team presents their solution to the long-term problem and competes in a spontaneous challenge. The spontaneous challenge consists of a never-before-seen problem, and the team must work together to respond in the moment, as creatively as possible.