It's their first year ever to have a team and they've made it to the world finals. The Odyssey of the Mind team at Edmond's Ida Freeman Elementary will leave on May 23 for Lansing, Michigan, where they’ll compete against kids their age from all over the world.
“Odyssey of the Mind is thinking outside the box,” explained Stacey Ruston, the team’s coach and also a teacher at the school. “Stem meets creativity meets drama.”
When Ruston and fellow coach Sarah Johnson started the Ida Freeman Odyssey of the Mind team at the beginning of the school year, they didn't even know if they would be able to compete. They believed that the program would be something they could build on though.
"It teaches kids to be responsible, to come up with problems on their own to be a problem solver,” said Ruston.
“I just think it’s really cool that we get to work together with each other and come up with creative solutions to different problems,” said Natalie Belyeu, a 5th grader on the team.
Now as the year wraps up, they're practicing to compete against the best of the best in a possible once in a lifetime opportunity.
“They will be competing with, I think, 15 counties so they’re going to get to meet students that they probably wouldn’t ever have a chance to meet,” said Ruston.
Ruston said many of the teams who make it to the world competition are from private schools and may have an entire class period dedicated to Odyssey of the Mind. At Ida Freeman, they practice during lunch and recess and after school one day a week. Team members say they already feel like the year was a big success no matter what happens next.
“It’s amazing, I still haven’t wrapped my mind around the fact that we’re going to worlds,” said Belyeu.
In Edmond, Sequoya Middle School and Centennial Elementary are also taking a team of the world finals.