What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM.

Dear Editor,

There is one question that I have been asked for years and that question is, “What is Odyssey of the Mind?”

Well, if you’re looking for a definition, Odyssey of the Mind, or O.M., is a program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. However, to myself and fellow O.M.ers, it’s way more than that.

Every year, a set of long-term problems are created by numerous O.M. officials for the O.M. teams all around the world to pick from. These long-term problems only include a brief description and rules that later become an eight minute skit. In competition, teams perform their interpretations of their chosen long-term problem, and participate in spontaneous.

Spontaneous is all about quick thinking, teamwork, and of course, creativity. How a team scores in long-term and spontaneous determines how far they go. Oh, and did I mention that all of this is done by a team of 5-7 students without an adult or outside assistance?

O.M. has become a part of me. This year marks my fifth year of being in O.M. and my second proceeding to world finals. Throughout my years of school, I’ve played sports and participated in academic, art and social groups, but nothing has topped O.M. With O.M., I can express myself for who I am and not be afraid of what others think. The most creative, hardworking and artistic students are with try-outs at the beginning of the year, and once the team gets together, we stay together.

This year, Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School was lucky to have two teams represented at our Emerald Coast regional tournament, where our hard work paid off. Both teams advanced to state finals in Orlando. At state, we performed once again and gave that competition all we had. After a long day at the University of Central Florida, thousands of people gathered at the CFE arena for the awards ceremony. The stress of competing was lifted away by this point, because we would be satisfied with whatever happened. Everyone in the arena was laughing, screaming and having a great time, but when they announced that Port St. Joe Team A placed first our problem, my heart stopped. The slow motion effect set in as we sprinted to the stage for our gold medals and trophy. I couldn’t believe it. We are headed to world finals.

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