Four Knox County Odyssey of the Mind teams advance to World Finals

Knox County students joined others from around the state to show off their creativity and prove their problem solving abilities at the Kentucky Odyssey of the Mind Finals held at the University of the Cumberlands on Saturday, March 24.

Four teams from the Knox County Public Schools qualified to advance to world competition after placing first or second in their problem event.

Knox Central’s Division III, Problem 5: Odyssey Angels team, coached by Kim Smith and Kristen Hinkle, placed first at the competition.    The problem consisted of creating and presenting a performance where a group of students travel and encounter negative situations.  The “Odyssey Angels” changed what they found and turned each into a positive situation.  The team had to be creative in their journey, as one member could not speak and another had a special team-created power.  Team members are Amber Wilson, Devon Hurley, Laura Jackson, Lauren Hammons, Tabitha Carnes, and Tristan Hinkle.

Girder’s Division II team also competed and placed first in Problem 5: Odyssey Angels.  The team is coached by Gentry Gibson.  Team members are Landon Hammons, Taylor Daniels, Lacey Troutman, Nicholas Gibson, Bethany France, Morgan Callihan, and Kailey Hale.

Flat Lick’s Division I team placed second in Problem 5: Odyssey Angels.  They are coached by Donna Welch.  Members are Presley Partin, Seth Bargo, Hannah Scheider, Austin Bargo, Ryleigh Swafford, Zach Mills, and Emily Davis.

Central Elementary students competed and placed second in Division I, Problem 3: To Be or Not to Be.  Teams were challenged to put a musical theatre spin on one of William Shakespeare’s most famous lines: “To Be or Not to Be.”   The character takes the easy way out in the problem and realizes that is not always the correct choice.  The team incorporated a character that portrays Hamlet’s conscience, a creative scene change, a creative costume change, and use of a trap door.    Team members are Tiffany Woolum, Ben Lecroy, Cooper Collins, Delaney Sowders, Taryn Mills, Cassidy Napier, and Brayden Roark.  They are coached by Salleebeth Mills.

Judging is based on a point system that is centered around three components.   Up to 200 points are awarded for long term problem solution, 50 points for style which is the elaboration of solution, and 100 points for spontaneous.

To celebrate Kentucky Odyssey of the Mind’s 30th anniversary, Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, founder of the program, was in attendance at the competition.  Currently residing in Bradenton, Florida, Micklus continues to be actively involved in Odyssey of the Mind and writes long-term and spontaneous problems for the competition each year.

Also in attendance was Omer, the Odyssey of the Mind mascot.   Omer was joined by two special companions, Knox Central Odyssey of the Mind alumni Brittney Ferguson and Casey Elswick.  The two led Omer around the University of the Cumberlands campus where he posed for photos with students and guests.

The teams will travel to Iowa State University, May 23-26, to compete at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.