PHES students in holiday-themed costumes and first-place medals around their necks pose in front of an Odyssey of the Mind backdrop

Nine teams from Martinsville City Public Schools earned first-place wins this weekend at the regional Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) competition, qualifying for the state tournament in April. A team from Martinsville Middle School also took home of the event’s highest honors—the coveted Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award.


“We are so excited to have nine teams from our district earn first place,” said MCPS Coordinator of STEM, Math and Science Tammy Allen. “I am enormously proud of the students and coaches for all the hard work they put into the program.”


On Saturday, March 16, eleven elementary and middle school teams from Martinsville traveled to Franklin County High School to compete in the regional tournament. At the end of a full day of creative problem-solving challenges, four teams from Martinsville Middle School, three from Patrick Henry Elementary, and two from Albert Harris Elementary were awarded first place medals for their categories, qualifying them for the statewide competition in Leesburg next month.


The MMS team of Michelle Yanes, Maya Williams, D’Anna Fitzgerald, and Carson Cole not only qualified for states, but also earned the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award. According to the OotM website, “the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award is given to a team or individual for demonstrating outstanding creativity. This award embodies all that the Odyssey of the Mind program represents.”


Odyssey of the Mind is a STEM-based program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Teams are challenged to work together to find original solutions to open-ended problems with specific requirements. Students then create original performances featuring props, costumes, and scripts to showcase their unique solution. Teams must also solve spontaneous problems on competition day to test their ability to think quickly and creatively.  


“Odyssey fosters incredible teamwork, creativity, and innovation through problem-solving,” Allen enthused. “It is such a wonderful opportunity for students to display their creativity and talents!”


Teams from MCPS have competed in the state Odyssey of the Mind competition since 2016, and teams have competed in the World Finals for the past two years.


MCPS superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley congratulated the teams, their coaches, and their family members. “MCPS continues to excel in STEM and engineering fields,” Talley said. “Our students are ensuring that they will have future opportunities in the technology field. I am so proud of our students and thrilled by their continued success!”


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


Martinsville Middle School


Drive-In Movie (First place, qualifies for state tournament)

Coach: Emily Harrell, Liz Lynch

Noah Wright

Vee Smith

Bridgette Brent

Colby Robertson

Cristopher Santiago

Kyla Stewart

Arianna Ybarra


AI Tech-NO-Art (First place, qualifies for state tournament; recipient of Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award)

Coach: Adrienne Anderson

Michelle Yanes

Maya Williams

D’Anna Fitzgerald

Carson Cole


Opening Night Antics (Second place)

Coach: Jessica Clervoi

Zaina Talley

Isabella Hurd

James Farris

Mason Cassell

David Argueta


Deep Space Structure (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Mary Nuñez

William Wray

Ana Nunez

Litzy Contreras-Rosas

NyShawn Walton

Amauri Johnson


Rocking World Detour (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Greg Hackenberg

Kevin Avila-Santiago

D’Anna Fields

Niema Merritt

Aileen Nolasco

Lilly Wall

William Wall

Albert Harris Elementary School


Drive-In Movie (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Wenn Harold

Sariyah Carter

Keiana Hairston

Yahya Rodriguez

Aria Lewis

Destiny Richmond

Jasmin Nolasco

Joselin Lara-Alvara


Opening Night Antics (Third place)

Coach: Hannah Jent

Estrella Velasquez

Antonella Rodriguez

Linyah Thompson


Deep Space Structure (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Lynne Young

Miriam Carter

Kyndall Gravely

Amara Hemphill

Andrea Nowlin

Amina Rumley

Willie Walker


Patrick Henry Elementary School

AI Tech-NO-Art (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Rita Ybarra

Lilliana Torres

Keirsten Smith

Kennedy Martin

Bentley Williamson

Margot Sharp

Elena Alvarez-Lozano

Virgil Moore


Opening Night Antics (First place, qualifies for state)

Coaches: Liz Lynch and Ashley Taylor

Emery Taylor

Adelaide Brent

Mercy Moore

KeiYani Morrison

Hailey Turner

Jade Holland Dallas

Katie Wall


Rocking World Detour (First place, qualifies for state)

Coach: Erica Crockett

Dillon Wilson

Remington Crockett

Josiah Law

Brooklyn DeShazo

Takeira Beal

Deontre Fitzgerald

Jycere Moorman


The Night Life (Non-competitive)

Coach: Judy McDonald

Zoe Preston

Kiah Cooper

Emersyn Crockett

Eloise Sharp

Dominic Barker

Piper Cruise

Holden Lewis