EDISON, NJ - In a competition that involved total 850 teams worldwide, J.P. Stevens High School are the proud first place winners of the 2017 World Finals, according to a press release from the team.

According to the release, Odyssey of the Mind is a team-based, competitive, creativity competition.

There are five types of long term problems with different central focus that each team can choose from, according to the release.

Sign Up for E-News

The teams chose between: Problem 1 (vehicle), Problem 2 (technical/presentation), Problem 3 (classics), Problem 4 (structure), Problem 5 (humor).

There is also a spontaneous problem, which they had to solve on the spot, the release said.

Stevens chose problem 4.

In problem 4, the team had to create a balsa wood structure from sets of specific wood lengths to hold weight, the release said.

There was also a presentation element in which they must integrate the testing of the balsa wood structure with a performance with a theme about precision.

The World Finals for Odyssey of the Mind took place at Michigan State University, from May 22-28, where Team A's Captain April Wang, along with her team (Gaurav Aggarwal, Cathy Daichang, Prateek Khandelwal, Michelle Li, Kennice Pan, and Vipul Setty), spent countless hours and many sleepless nights working on Ready, Set, Balsa, Build.

They earned 2nd place in the style category, 2nd place in spontaneous and had the highest weight in Division 3. The team's hard work and dedication to the competition paid off, placing them the highest of any NJ team at the World Finals in Problem 4, out of 43 competing teams, according to the release.

All the students do a little bit of everything but there are roles that they tended to fall back into for this year.

April was the builder and captain of the team, and it was her design for the balsa wood structure that enabled her to hold the most weight in the world this year, the release said.

According to the team, she played some major roles on this team: she brought it together (they were not all friends before this experience), she had them disciplined with routines to get ready for competition, and she maintained a sense of authority and composure throughout the process.

Gaurav and Vipul helped in terms of weight placement and both students serve to develop the technical elements of the problem: creation of sets/frames, dragon’s wings that fold/span out, etc., the release said.

Prateek and Cathy worked on the scriptwriting and small props, while Cathy and Michelle primarily worked on costuming and makeup, the release said.

The art scenes were managed by Michelle and Kennice. 

Next year's Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will take place at Iowa State University from May 23-26.

The team gives special thanks to organizers and volunteers at Odyssey of The Mind, Mr. Benny Parekkadan - JPS Coach for OM and to the founder, Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, according to the release.

To learn more about Odyssey of the Mind, visit the website: https://www.odysseyofthemind.com.