Three odyssey of the mind students hold up their medals

Four teams from Martinsville City Public Schools will travel to Leesburg, VA in April to compete against students from across the Commonwealth at the State Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) Tournament.

The teams, three from Martinsville Middle School and one from Patrick Henry Elementary School, advanced to the state competition after placing first in their categories during the Piedmont Regional Odyssey of the Mind Tournament in Rocky Mount, VA on March 17.

“OotM is a creative problem-solving STEM after-school program for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade,” explained MCPS Coordinator of STEM, Math, and Science Jill Collins. “We had six elementary teams and three middle school teams this year participating in Odyssey’s adventurous experience by learning teamwork, budgeting, building, public speaking, and so much more!” 

Odyssey of the Mind challenges participants to work as a team to find original solutions to open-ended problems.

Teams choose from a selection of long-term problems, each with its own requirements, time limit, and budget and create a performance, complete with props, costumes, and a script, that meets those requirements.

In addition to the long-term problem, which they have months to work on and rehearse, teams also must solve a spontaneous problem, which tests a team’s ability to think on their feet. In a spontaneous session, a team is presented with a verbal and/or hands-on problem which they have never seen before and have just a few minutes to solve. Some problems require a team to present multiple creative solutions.

Teams from MCPS have competed in the state competition every year since 2016. Last year, two teams from PHES competed in the World Finals, where one team placed third for their division in their category. 

MCPS teams that competed at this year’s regional OotM tournament are:

Martinsville Middle School

The Most Dramatic Problem Ever!!! (First place, advancing to state tournament)

Coach: Greg Hackenberg
Niema Merritt
Sarah Green
Veronica Smith
Noah Wright
Cristofer Santiago
Nykira Johnson

Pirates and the Treasure (First place, advancing to state tournament)

Coach: Jessica Clervoi
Betty Sifuentes
Zaina Talley
Isabella Hurd
Viet Van Vo

Because iCan (First place, advancing to state tournament)

Coach: Kevin Paitsel
Leeayla Hairston
Ty’Layiah Dillard
Kaden Paitsel
Mason Cassell
William Wall
Lily Wall

Patrick Henry Elementary School 

Pirates and the Treasure (First place, advancing to state tournament)

Coach: Elizabeth Lynch
Nina Giles
Jewel Martin
Maya Williams
Katie Wall
Kyla Steward
Jade Holland-Dallas
Zyriah Bouldin 

The Most Dramatic Problem Ever!!! (Second place)

Coach: Erica Crockett
Arielle Mitchell
Remmington Crockett
Dillion Wilson
Josiah Law
J'Cyere Moorman
Bently Williamson
Carter Cole

Dinos on Parade! (non-competitive)

Coach: Judy McDonald
Khamille Tatum
Paris Turner
Gabriella Gravely
Za'Mari Witcher
Amreen Narula
Espen Troncoso
Sebastian LaPrade

Albert Harris Elementary

The Walls of Troy (Third place)

Coach: Wenn Harold
Freddy Munoz
Mariah Mose
Makiya Walton
Keiana Hairston
Jasmin Nalasco
Haley Weaver
Layce Everhart

Where’s the Structure? (Second place)

Coach: Tammy Allen
Miriam Carter
Alan Carrillo Tamayo
Yahya Rodriguez
Aria Lewis
Michele Yanes Videa
Kyndall Gravely
Victor Domninguez-Machuca

Dinos on Parade! (non-competitive)

Coach: Jasmine Hall
Lennette Floyd
Jayveon Lewis
Aaden Schmidt
Timothy Giles
Elijah Woody
Jermyn Akers