West U Elementary Odyssey of the Mind Team Places 7th at World Finals

June 6, 2012

West University Elementary School’s 5th grade Odyssey of the Mind team earned 7th place in the world in their division at the 33rd Annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held at Iowa State University, May 23 – 26.

West University Elementary School's Award-Winning 5th Grade Odyssey of the Mind Team Pauses for a Moment at the Odyssey World Finals to Visit with Odyssey of the Mind founder, Dr. Sam Micklus. Pictured with Dr. Micklaus (left to right, back row) are fifth-grade students Andrew Alexander, Sophie Gillard, Elise Anthony and Gracie Piland, with team mates (left to right, front row), Jack Shea, Clara Brotzen-Smith and Brett Hauser.

Competing against 58 teams in their problem and division, West University placed 7th place in the world, ahead of teams from China, Singapore, India, Pennsylvania, California and many more states.  As Texas State Champions in the Division I “To Be or Not To Be” Category, the West University Elementary School 5th Grade Odyssey of the Mind Team was proud to represent West University Elementary School and the State of Texas at the World Finals.

Working together for over nine months to write an original script, design and build their sets, make their costumes, and come up with all of the ideas on their own—without assistance from parents or teachers—gave the West University team the opportunity to demonstrate their powerful team work and problem-solving skills in an original long-term creative problem performance.

In addition to their long-term creative problem and performance, “To Do the Funky Chicken or Not to Do the Funky Chicken,” the team competed in the Spontaneous Problem which requires quick thinking, fast action and teamwork in response to a verbal, hands-on or verbal plus hands-on challenge.  Standing before a panel of judges, the team must come up with an immediate, creative solution to the Spontaneous challenge. Throughout the week, the team also met students from all over the world and saw how they approach challenges with innovative, creative solutions.

Coached by Rani Shea, the team consists of fifth-grade students: Andrew Alexander, Elise Anthony, Clara Brotzen-Smith, Sophie Gillard, Brett Hauser, Gracie Piland and Jack Shea.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competitions on the local, state and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.