TK Odyssey of the Mind Teams Take World Stage

Three Thornapple Kellogg Odyssey of the Mind teams got to do just that when they competed in May at the OM World Finals at Iowa State University. Two teams represented the high school and one team was made up of all sixth graders from the middle school. All three teams placed in the top half in their world divisions.

The teams joined more than 835 teams from around the world in the annual competition where only the top teams in the state are eligible to compete.

The high school team of Anna Miller, Clair Jansma, Grace Densham, Emma Chapman, Wyatt Crampton, Zane Walters, and Jake Maring, placed 13th out of 54 teams in their division. The team is coached by  Barb Maring and Mary Chapman.

Another high school team made up was made up of all freshmen including Ellie Essenberg, Aubrey Evans, Kelly Gasser, Kyra Shepard,  Brendon Carlson, Michael Brown and Christel Hoskins. They placed 23rd out of 54 teams. The team is coached by Rebecca Hoskins and Michelle Essenberg.

The sixth-grade team made up of Marian Gielincki, Shelby Robinett, Whitney Ruger, Mallory Hagemann, Cash Rabley, Billie DeWent and Kaden Hamming, placed 32nd out of 69 teams. The team is coached by Melinda Robinett and Reagan Gielincki.

During their stay in Iowa, two of the TK teams were paired with an international team. The freshman high school team were partners with a team from South Korea. Two team members, Christel Hoskins and Ellie Essenberg, also reconnected with a team from Poland they became friends with when they went to the World competition three years ago.

The middle school team were buddies with a team from Switzerland and learned a lot more about their culture.

During the four-day World Competition event, the teams participated in opening and closing ceremonies similar to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic games.

A post on the OM Website sums up the world experience:  "It was a creative extravaganza where more than 835 teams from all around the world shared their ideas and work. While only a few left with a trophy, everyone came out a winner just by solving an Odyssey of the Mind problem and competing on the world stage."

Odyssey of the Mind is a program encouraging students to use critical thinking skills, teamwork, creativity, arts, science and technology and presentation skills. Each team must solve one of five long-term OM problems designed for the yearly competition. Each solution is unique and creative, with no two ever being the same. Teams also have to compete in a spontaneous problem where they have no idea what problem is going to be presented and have a set amount of time to come up with their solution and presentation.