Two Knox County Odyssey of the Mind teams have an opportunity to perform for the world as they advance in the annual Odyssey of the Mind competition.
Girdler Elementary’s Problem 3 team secured their spot on the world’s stage with a first place win on Saturday, March 28, during the state competition. Team members Braxton Chadwell, Gavin Chadwell, Bobbie Ann Dunn, Drew Hale, Emily Mills and Abigail Ward wowed judges by opening up ‘Pandora’s Box’. In this problem, the Girdler team put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. A gamer character will take on this multi-level game inspired by the Greek myth. The game included a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represents the gamer character’s health. To beat the game, the player will advance to the final level where it will release hope into the world. They are coached by Kelley Mills and Rita Wood.
Joining them in the spotlight at World Finals will be the Problem 2 team from Knox Central High School. Rachel Brown, Amber Gambrel, Tara Garrison, Madison Hatfield, Adams Mills, Mary Riley and Matthew Williams won third place in the competition, and qualified for a bid to advance. Coached by Dutch Endy, the team was challenged to design, build, and demonstrate various devices that complete specific tasks – all while being powered by rubber bands. The problem was entitled “Experiencing Technical Difficulties”, which revolved around the theme where technical failures must be resolved through completing the tasks. The team received a list of tasks to choose from including ring a bell, change the wording on something, sound an alarm, move an object, etc. To add a twist to the problem, there was also a mysterious engineering character added in.
Both the Girdler Elementary and Knox Central team will be traveling to East Lansing, Michigan this May and join teams from around the world in competing on the campus of Michigan State University.
Four additional Knox County teams also placed high at this year’s state level competition, where some problems consisted of up to 30 schools competing for honors.
Knox Central’s Problem 5 team captured a third place win for their work towards a “Silent Movie”. Trey Chesnut, Madison Gibson, Landon Hammons, Lauren Hammons, Mikaela Rhodes, Hannah Riley and Madison Thomas directed and presented a performance depicting a character that produces and presents a silent movie featuring a humorous villain character that commits three silly acts of “villainy”. Characters, played by team members, were not allowed to speak as part of the presentation of the movie. Instead, like classic silent films, the team used music played on a team-created instrument and creatively displayed subtitles to convey its story to the audience and judges. The team was coached by Sherry Hammons.
Taking fourth place honors was another Knox Central team for their work towards Problem 3: Pandora’s Box. Like the Girdler team, members Keegan Belcher, Tabitha Carnes, Emily Hudson, Hannah Owens, Whitney Sizemore, Brian Smith, Sabrina Smith put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. The team was coached by Lisa Deaton.
Also competing in the Problem 3: Pandora’s Box event was the team from Flat Lick Elementary, that placed 5th place at the state competition. Like the other teams, their ultimate mission was to “release hope into the world” through the video game simulation. Layla Bowling, Emily Gray, Cheyenne Sizemore, Lauren Smith, Jayme Swafford Kadyn Wells and Lucas Wilson were coached by Donna Welch.
The team from Lynn Camp Schools won 6th place honors for their work towards Problem 3: Pandora’s Box. Heaven Blevins, Sasha Diaz, Caleb Gray, Dylan Guinn, Faith Smith, Monica Smith and Austyn Weddle were coached by Heidi Suttle and Corri Taylor in preparing for this year’s competition.
“We are extremely proud of all the teams for competing and want to wish Girdler and Knox Central the best of luck as they represent Knox County in front of the world,” said Jennifer Carey, gifted and talented coordinator for the school district.
Individuals and organizations that wish to pledge financial support towards expenses that Girdler and Knox Central will have as they travel to Michigan State are asked to contact the coaches. Several fundraising opportunities are being planned for the spring and details will be announced once approved.