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Three Newtown Odyssey of the Mind teams will head to world finals near the end of May after competing in the state level of the competition April 2.
According Robin Fitzgerald, an Odyssey of the Mind coach for a high school team, 152 teams competed in the state finals on Saturday, April 2.
Multiple teams from Newtown competed at the state level, and three of them earned placement at world finals, the next stage of the competition.
Odyssey of the Mind is the largest intellectual educational competition in the world, with teams of up to seven students working together to solve problems. The teams present their solutions to the problems at annual state competitions. The top teams in each competing state then head to world finals, where teams from more than 25 countries come together in the spirit of international competition. This year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will be held at the end of May at Iowa State University, in Ames, according to Odyssey of the Mind.
Ms Fitzgerald’s team — Quinn Fitzgerald, Connor Munro, A.J. Salaris, Owen Walsh, and Alex Watson — was one of two teams from the high school to earn a spot at the world finals in May. Ms Fitzgerald’s team earned first place in its problem/division.
A.J. said on Wednesday, April 6, he is thankful the state competition is over, because everyone was nervous. The team members, he said, have busy schedules as high school students, but they took a moment to relax before competing.
“It really brought it together,” said A.J.
A.J. said this is the second time his team is competing at the world finals, and all of the team members are excited for different reasons.
For Connor attending the state competition was fun, because he was able to see how other teams had completed problems.
A.J. said the amount of work the team will have to do to prepare for world finals will be an endeavor, but he and Connor both seemed optimistic.
Connor said he is excited to meet the other Odyssey of the Mind participants attending world finals.
Ms Fitzgerald said the three teams will be fundraising for the six weeks between the state competition and attending world finals, as it can cost more than $1,000 for each team member to attend world finals.
Full fundraising details for each of the three teams were still being finalized by Tuesday, April 12, but some plans were solidified.
For her team and the others, Ms Fitzgerald said fundraising plans will be announced around town.
Coach Carol Shuman’s NHS Odyssey of the Mind team — with members Tristan Filiato, Nick Preszler, Jacob Shuman, Julia Shuman, Rachel Tramposch, and Teddy Wojcik — earned a spot at world finals by placing second its problem/division at the state level of the competition.
“The team won the Jill Riggles Award for Excellence in spontaneous by achieving the highest spontaneous score in their problem/division,” Ms Shuman said after the state competition.
Ms Shuman’s team has been working since October, meeting twice a week, to prepare for the competition.
“We then started building our props and sets and continued to define the script. It was a big push as we got closer to competition to finish building all our sets and props and costumes and memorize all our lines,” said Ms Shuman.
Julia said she has been participating in Odyssey of the Mind for five years and this will be her team’s first time attending world finals.
Attending the state competition, Rachel said, was fun, and Julia said it was nerve-wracking.
“You work on it for a really long time so it is really nice to show everyone,” said Julia.
Rachel is excited to attend world finals.
Tristan said it was “cool” to show how his team solved its chosen problem.
Ms Shuman’s team expressed many reasons why they are looking forward to world finals, like seeing people from other countries, seeing another state, and seeing what other teams come up with to solve the problems.
On Tuesday, April 12, Ms Shuman said her team has scheduled a tag sale for Saturday, May 7, from 8 am until 2 pm, at 14 Overlook Drive, to raise funds for world finals. She also said the team will have a booth at the annual Newtown Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 23, at Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen Street.
Coach Kristina Tartaglia’s Newtown Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team won first place in its problem/division on April 2. For most of her team, this was the fourth year participating in Odyssey of the Mind, and it was Ms Tartaglia’s third year as the coach. Team members are Willem Doherty, Maddie Hintze, Mackenzie Hughes, Luke Sordi, Lenie Urbina, Joseph Tartaglia, and Julian Totir. All of the team members are seventh grade students.
All of the members agreed attending the state level of the competition was fun, and all of them expressed their hopes for attending world finals.
“I’m really excited,” said Maddie. “We actually won.”
Julian said attending world finals will allow the team to see more Odyssey of the Mind participants and solutions than the members do at states.
Lenie said she was nervous at the state competition, but every ended up doing well. She is also scared to attend world finals, but she is excited to see other countries represented at the competition.
Attending world finals, Joseph said, “is a really big accomplishment for me and my team… We worked so hard for it.”
Luke said he is looking forward to participating in all of the activities at world finals.
“I’m so excited,” said Willem. “I’ve been working toward this personally since I got on the team four years ago, and it took this long to come to fruition.”
Mackenzie was also excited to attend world finals in Iowa.
By Tuesday, April 11, Ms Tartaglia’s team had created a website, gofundme.com/GetNewtownToWorlds, to raise money to travel to world finals. She also said the team has planned a car wash event at Berkshire Motors on May 21 from 10 am to 2 pm.
More information about Odyssey of the Mind is available on its website, odysseyofthemind.com.