by Terry Rogers
On March 14, students will gather at Milford Central Academy to participate in the regional Odyssey of the Mind competition. According to Jacquie Blevins, President and Association Director of Delaware Odyssey of the Mind, there has been an effort to centralize tournaments so that teams can compete on a date that is convenient for them and not based on their location.
“Milford Central Academy is just a bit south of the central line of the state and the venue is perfect for our needs,” Blevins said. “We were there in the past and had formed a great partnership with the staff and administration and are thrilled to be able to return.”
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative competition for students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade as well as at the college level. It is comprised of teams of up to seven students who work together to solve a problem of their selection. Blevins explained that the team presents their solution at a qualifying tournament with other students of the same age group and problem selection with the goal to advance to the state finals and, potentially, World Finals. Blevins stated that there are five problem categories which include Vehicle, Performance, Technical, Structure and Classics. There is also a spontaneous portion on competition. Day.
“The program works with components of the STEM philosophy,” Blevins said. “It helps the participants learn teamwork and life skills. It also allows them to interact with peers in a way that they may not in a normal setting. Each problem has a cost limit so that it is feasible for all students to participate. It is open to any Delaware child in grades K-12. There is a misconception that it is a gifted and talented program or only open to certain academic groups. This could not be further from the truth. The program was designed so that all students are able to participate and given an outlet to develop and showcase their creativity.”
This year, Milford has seven teams participating. During the competition, teams are divided into divisions which break down into grade levels. There is also a college-level division. Teams compete against their peers in the same problem and division in one of two Qualifying Tournaments. Top teams then advance to the Delaware State Finals. The top two finalists at the state finals advance to the World Finals.
“Events are open to the public and we invite anyone and everyone to join us,” Blevins said. “There is no admission fee and it is a great day. We will be offering souvenirs, a make and take pillow project and our famous food truck court. This is in addition to the exciting performances put on by our competitors.”
Dr. Bridget Amory, Director of Student Learning at Milford School District is thrilled that students will be able to continue their participation in Odyssey of the Mind competitions, calling it an “incredible organization that fosters critical skills in problem-solving in a safe and supportive environment.”
“We are excited to host the Odyssey of the Mind competition and look forward to a great day of creative thinking and activity from outstanding students of Milford School District and throughout the region,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, said. “We thank the coaches, DELCAP, many volunteers and families for their involvement and support of the event and participating students.”