by Emily Luffman and Kelsey Lee

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students. These problems vary from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. The teams then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and world level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program. Students are required to do everything with no outside assistance. This requires them to compose an original skit, song, dance, and make their own props and costumes. They have a limited amount of time to present and set up props and even a limited amount of money. Then, they are judged by a team on creativity, performance, style, song, dance, costumes, backdrops, cost of the problem, and problem and solution.
On Tuesday April 2, 2016 the Sloan-Hendrix Odyssey of the Mind team went to state because they were ranked high enough in the local division. Since the regional tournament, the team has overcome many struggles. The team had lost a member, Ashlynn Tubbs, just a few weeks before the state competition making the stability of the team almost nonexistent. The team grieved for the loss of one of their own. It took up until the week before competition for the team to get their skit together and in order, but they did so in honor of their lost team mate. The team made t-shirts the Friday before the competition stating “TAKE STATE FOR ASHLYNN” on a blue shirt because that was her favorite color.
The team didn’t do as well as they hoped, only placing seventh in the state. Their coaches, Mrs. Stephens and Mrs. Gott, were proud of their effort. Mrs. Stephens said “This being the school’s first year of OM was hard enough, but recovering from the loss of a friend and a team mate and still having the courage to go to state? That is something anyone should be proud of.” The team received the OMer award for their bravery and their exertions in recovering from the loss of Ashlynn and still performing in her name.
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