Golden Hill students flex creative muscles at Odyssey of the Mind tournament

Three Golden Hill teams competed at the New York State Region 5 Odyssey of the Mind tournament Saturday, March 2.

a team of five primary students put on a performanceFor the competition, Odyssey of the Mind students “are presented with a problem and they have to use their creativity to solve that problem. Along the way, they learn lots of different skills that they can apply to those problems and to their solution,” shared Bianca Mendola, school counselor at Golden Hill. “The kids did a phenomenal job,” she shared. Mendola coached the teams along with teachers Amber Saunders and Evan Lally.   

After tryouts at the beginning of the school year, each team worked to solve the problem presented to them. They work together a few times a week after school to create a performance letting their creativity flow. Coaches can help teach the skills needed, but the students apply the skills to the problem themselves. 

“Odyssey of the Mind is important because it gives the teams a chance to really think outside of the box. It’s a time for them to learn their own strengths and maybe even areas they could improve on,” said Mendola. “They just get an idea and they run with it. It really helps them to think more deeply and critically about things and learn how to collaborate and compromise if somebody has a different opinion.”

Two primary teams of five students each, from the first and second grades, and one Division 1 team with seven students, from third, fourth and fifth grade shared their performances at the tournament. 

“When we got on stage, I was a little nervous at first, but then it got better because I was focusing on our performance,” shared fourth grader Everett Misir. His teammate, fifth grader Liana Scheuermann, shared similar feelings. “I thought it was pretty fun. Once we got on stage it was just like in rehearsal,” she shared. 

The two primary teams were presented with “The Night Life” challenge in
which they had to create a performance based on a discovery made
during the night.a team of five primary students put on a performance

“One team’s discovery that they found was a birthday party in the forest,” shared Mendola. “The other team had an explorer who encountered all these different animals and plants while he was looking for what they called the Krackus, which was like this mythical creature that was a combination of a dog, a whale, a fairy and a dragon.” The creature came out of a compromise by the team to include everyone’s ideas.

The Division 1 team chose from five challenges, picking “Rocking World Detour” which had them figuring out how to get a rock band back on tour.

Odyssey of the Mind Division 1 team performs at a tournament“Our performance was about how we got transported from New York to Paris and Paris to London,” shared third grader Genevieve Peters, who competed on the Division 1 team. Her teammate, Isabella Karpen, explained that in their performance they were transported from place to place through their singing; “We were like, ‘We wish we could sing in Paris on the Eiffel Tower, just like our song,’ and then we actually ended up doing exactly that.”

Students also completed a timed spontaneous challenge.

“I think we learned more about our creative side and about what we can do with the things around us,” shared fifth grader Sophia Lin.