Four Colonial Odyssey of the Mind teams placed at state competition

Four Odyssey of the Mind teams from the Colonial School District brought their creativity, teamwork, and quick thinking to the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals earlier this month in Lock Haven, Pa. — with the Plymouth Whitemarsh Team coming home with a bid for the World Finals this May in Iowa. 

students posed around boy holding book

PWHS team performing a musical about fantasy book author George MacDonald

“I'm really looking forward to getting to be around Odyssey teams from all over the world. When I had my first state awards ceremony in fourth grade and I watched the teams being sent to Worlds, I knew I had to get there one day,” said PWHS ninth grader Natalie Dyck. “I'm incredibly proud of myself and my team.”

The Odyssey of the Mind teams — three from Colonial Middle School and one from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School — have been preparing for the event by each creating an original eight-minute skit using a certain set of parameters and practicing their problem-solving skills to respond to a spontaneous prompt.

The PWHS team completed the “(Name Here): The Musical Production” Division III challenge. For this skit, teams were required to create a biographical musical about a selected historic figure. The performance had to include an opening number and two other original songs, a lighting special effect, movement of scenery, and a membership sign that appeared as a marquee for the team’s musical.

“Our skit is about George MacDonald, the man behind the world's first fantasy book, and the direct reason Alice in Wonderland was ever even published,” said PWHS ninth grader Thomas Warshaw. “He directly mentored and influenced the world’s best stories, including The Hobbit and Huckleberry Finn.”

The PWHS team won third place overall and first place in spontaneous, earning the opportunity to compete at World Finals. The team includes ninth grade students: Ryan Bass, Jackson De Guzman, Natalie Dyck, Ellen Fang, Miles Hormell, Isaac Nolt, and Thomas Warshaw.   

The teams meet with CMS teacher Anna Mindel after school each week to practice spontaneous problem solving and work on their skits with dedicated parents who volunteer as coaches.

The PWHS team is raising money for their trip to the World Finals. Click here to learn more about it. 

Middle school results

Seven students posed in front of a large rusty sculpture

This CMS team created a musical about Phineas Gage, a 19th century construction worker who survived an accident where a metal rod shot through his brain. 

The CMS team of seventh graders Hollis Becker, Liam Pearson, Maddie Pomager, Sydney Saulino, Harry Schreiter, Jillian Sinese, and Kaili Stauffer also created a skit for the “(Name Here): The Musical Production” challenge and earned fourth place in their division.

Another CMS team solved the “Life Is a Circus” problem, where they created a skit about a young person who wakes up one day to discover they somehow were transported into a circus world. This team earned sixth place and included seventh and eighth grade students Samantha Couzens, Stephanie Davies, Eleanor Hormell, Robert Hutchinson, Leo Nasatir, Charlotte Stieg, and Nathan Stieg.

The final CMS team worked on “Odyssey ReOMvention,” where teams were required to present a skit that identifies an original threat to the environment that self-replicates until a team-created technical reOMvention removes the threat. This team also placed sixth and includes sixth graders Aaron Bentley, Ahmed Elshaari, David Hayman, Thea Kupersmith, Rebecca Quitel, Aubrey Ruth, and Rosa Warshaw.