This reader's report was submitted by Larry Sullivan, a parent, on behalf of the Progress Village Middle Magnet School of the Arts, and its Odyssey of the Mind contender team.
By Larry Sullivan
The Odyssey of the Mind team from Progress Village Middle Magnet School of the Arts is on its way to the world championships at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, May 23-27.
The team is comprised of five eighth-graders: Kayla Korpics, Abigail Stillwell, Mack Sullivan, Connor Wolff and Savannah Zona. Also, there are two seventh-graders: Kara Chung and Michael Hernandez. Together the students worked throughout the school year to prepare for the competition.
“In the fall I said I had never been to the world competition, and the team said this is the year we are taking you to worlds,” said Johannah Gebur, a sixth-grade science teacher and one of the coaches.
The other coach is William Simpson, a sixth-grade language arts teacher.
The Odyssey competition is a creative problem-solving contest for everyday solutions, involving students from kindergarten through college. The problem-solutions range from building mechanical devices to live performances written and acted out by the students.
The competition has two parts. The team has months under the long-term section to develop answers to a problem according to criteria set by judges. Under the spontaneous section, the team gets new problems and must respond with a solution within minutes before a panel of judges.
For its long-term problem, the Progress Village team presented solutions for a society that relied too much on electricity and digital devices. The team won its division at the regional competition at Strawberry Crest High School on Feb. 18. Then, the team won first place at the state competition at the University of Central Florida on April 14.
The Progress Village team is the only public school going to the world finals from the Hillsborough County Public School District.