In late May, the Middle School Odyssey of the Mind (OM) club traveled to the Iowa State University to compete in the World Finals! In just its second year, the club won first place in the MD/DC State competition earlier in the spring to qualify for the World Finals, where they represented one of four teams from Maryland. With teams from 42 states and 10 countries outside of the US, Finals participants took over the Iowa State University campus. 

"Odyssey of the Mind provided our girls with a fantastic opportunity to live on a college campus, compete in a truly international competition, and make connections with other students they would have never met outside of OM," shared Middle and Upper School Latin teacher Megan Miller, who is the club's faculty advisor. "A cool thing that Odyssey of the Mind does to foster connection between kids from different places is pin trading. Students are pushed to start up conversations with kids they have never met and often kids who they don't share a common language with in order to trade their Maryland pins for pins from South Korea, Poland, and Mexico."

During Odyssey of the Mind, which is a is creativity competition for lower school to university students, teams of no more than seven students compete in two events at competition. For one event, Spontaneous, they must collaborate to creatively solve a timed problem on the spot. For the other event, Long Term, the team works all year to create everything (costumes, sets, script) on a tight budget for an 8-minute dramatic performance. 

At Finals, the GFS team not only participated in these events but attended fun opening and closing ceremonies, explored the campus at night and even visited ISU's Food Services department to try the ice cream they make on campus. 

"This event required so many of our Core Values," Ms. Miller said. "Our students showed bravery to be the first team to compete at Worlds and to perform their Long Term in front of judges and a crowd. They were authentic: every single thing they made was conceived and created by their team alone. They had to show compassion for themselves and each other: our travel days were about 12 hours each and we needed to shelter twice for tornadoes."

Congrats to the team!

See photos from the trip here:


And check out this behind the scenes video: