Words by Brad Shellgren
Academy at the Lakes sent two Odyssey of the Mind teams to the State Championships in Orlando, and both did amazing things. The Technical Team comprised of Audrey Gorski ’25, Allison Fox ’25, Ben Harrison ’25, Geno Lee ’24, Henry Levy ’25, and Eugene Ross ’24 placed first in their problem and division, advancing them to the World Finals at Michigan State University. This is the second straight year the Technical Team has qualified for the World Finals. They have the fortune once again of being coached by parents, Suzanne Meiners-Levy and Theresa Gorski.
Meanwhile, in their rookie season, the Classics Team made up of Alaina Hedgspeth ’25, Riley McGoldrick ’25, Eryn McLeod ’25, Brianna Mercado ’25, and Nadav Egosi ’26 placed 5th at State. This team is coached by parents, Kim Hedgspeth and David McLeod. The school coordinator is UD faculty member, Rachel Klaeren.
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.