Odyssey of the Mind prepares for World Competition


Photo courtesy of Mr. Modrak via Twitter

Members of Odyssey of the Mind must be good creative thinkers and be comfortable performing in front of a crowd in their skits! Top row: Jack Halulko, Mack Matthews, Natalie Johnson Bottom row: Marah Pegram, Margaret Garcia, Meredith Bryant

The coming of spring marks not only the last nine weeks of the school year, but it also indicates that the academic competition season is upon us. Students have spent the entirety of the school year planning, preparing and practicing for their respective events in a variety of clubs around the school. While only composed of six members, Trinity’s Odyssey of the Mind team packs a big punch in the awards game. After tackling the National Competition, the group set their sights on the World Competition in April. 

Odyssey of the Mind began over 40 years ago at Rowan University in New Jersey. Founder Dr. Sam’s goal for the organization was to promote creativity, science, technology, engineering, math and the arts. These ideas carry on today, as Senior Mack Matthews describes Odyssey of the Mind as a creativity competition with open-ended questions. 

Essentially, teams are given a problem to solve that has no specific answer. The final solution must come in the form of an original skit with an eight-minute time limit. In preparation for their presentation, teams must write a script, design costumes and create a set to use in competition.  This year’s problem required teams to destroy a self-replicating threat to the environment, but with a catch: each solution had to include Arm & Hammer baking soda in some way to defeat the threat.

To solve these interesting open-ended problems, a strong team atmosphere is crucial to success in events. The work to prepare for a competition, including the set design, script writing and costuming, is split up among the team members according to their individual strengths. Despite these specific roles, competitions and prompts can be unpredictable, causing team members to adapt and fill in where more help is needed. 

“Qualities of a good team member definitely include going with the flow and being open to suggestions,” says Marah Pegram, senior. 

Many of Trinity’s high school participants were also a part of the Odyssey of the Mind team at Trinity Middle School, adding to the team bonding. Natalie Johnson, senior captain, has participated in competitions since she was in sixth grade. She recalled her seventh-grade year where the solution skit had to include superheroes in some way. 

“We built a seven-foot-tall book for our set. Watching a bunch of seventh graders running around under this huge book was just a fascinating thing,” said Johnson.

Matthews also highlighted his favorite aspect of Odyssey of the Mind: “This is a great creative outlet. Everyone is goofy in there, and together you can be as goofy as you want.”

The team has two captains, Johnson and Meredith Bryant. Rounding out the group are Pegram, Matthews, Margaret Garcia and Jack Halulko. All but Halulko are seniors, meaning that the team will be looking to expand in the coming years. Johnson has some advice for anyone who is even slightly interested in participating in Odyssey of the Mind. 

“Participating is such a good opportunity to try something new and fun. You also meet so many new people which is always exciting,” says Johnson. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, competitions were held in-person, often in Moon Township. Teams were given a prompt in November and had time to prepare before presenting after the New Year. Competitions this year, including the World Competition, are being held virtually. The team began preparations for Worlds at the end of March in order to submit their recorded video by the April 12, 2022 deadline. Results should be available sometime in May.

The entire staff of The Hiller wishes Odyssey of the Mind the best of luck at the World Competition!