WESTFIELD, NJ – Five teams of Westfield youngsters mingled with students from around the globe when they traveled to Michigan last weekend to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
Two of the teams, a Division 1 group and a Division 2 group from Edison Intermediate School, placed 11th overall in the competition for their respective problems, according to Bernadette Murphy, one of the coordinators for the Odyssey program in town.
Westfield students were housed in Michigan State University dorms during their stay.
“The Westfield teams were in dorms with teams from China, Togo and Canada, as well as other countries and states,” said Murphy. “Many teams exchanged contact information with the new friends from around the country and the world.”
“Worlds was a truly special experience. The kids really bonded with their Buddy Team from China,” Tamaques team coach Aaron Keith said, adding that the two groups enjoyed playing Frisbee and soccer and just hanging out together.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international extracurricular activity that requires students in teams of no more than seven to write an original script, create costumes and sets and perform an eight-minute skit in front of judges to solve a specific problem. The program has mushroomed in Westfield since it was started in 2011.
Members of the Edison Division 1 team finishing 11th were Will Crall, Ezra Davis, Billy Maguire, Kavya Panjwani, Amanda Rosenthal, Steve Wang and Clara Yu. The group, which tackled the “Pandora’s Box” problem, was coached by Hillary Crall and Suzanne Rosenthal.
Members of the Edison Division 2 team finishing 11th for their work on the “Silent Movie” problem were Daniel Carminio, Kate Johnson, Aidan Kilbourn, Aidan Orr, Catherine Orr, Emily Triolo and Kurt Hu. Carmen Mak and Tara McGroddy served as coaches.
A second Division 2 team from Edison placed 21st overall for their work on “Experiencing Technical Difficulties.” These students included Andrew Cherry, Hannah Cherry, Omay Edekar, Finn North, Roberto Panora, Meredith Rosenthal, Sophie Tsekov. The coaches were Elin Cherry and Suzanne Rosenthal.
From Jefferson Elementary School, Avi Ash, Maya Dias, Allie DiFalco, Hannah Everett, Sayee Edekar, Josh Metz, Sam Schupak finished 24th for their work on “Experiencing Technical Difficulties.” Coaches were Chhaya Edekar and Elyse Everett.
A Division 1 team from Tamaques Elementary School finished 37th for their work on the “Runaway Train” problem. Coached by Aaron Keith and Mary Gamba, these Ariana Keith, Avery Keith, Joey Gamba, Kevin Warren, Charlotte Schwartz, Zack Preucil and Catherine Collins.
All five teams qualified for the world finals after competing in regional and state championships earlier this year. This year’s world finals competition was held on the campus of MSU and was bracketed by opening and closing ceremonies, which were attended by about 14,000 people.