This year, all 3 of our Da Vinci Connect Homeschool Odyssey of the Mind teams surpassed all expectations to move through the regional competition and place first in their problem divisions and in the additional Spontaneous Award category at the state championship, qualifying for the world championship. Against all odds, and with the support of so many of you in the community, they managed to fundraise for all 19 state champs to get to the Odyssey of the Mind World Championship where they competed against hundreds of teams from all over the world, including South Korea, Poland, and Switzerland. In addition to representing Da Vinci Connect with pride in an incredible international competition, our first-time teams placed well in their problem divisions, and one of our coaches Sara Boscoe Bain stole the show at the Coach’s Competition, landing the coveted style award! Here is what your Da Vinci Connect teams had to say about the experience:
Just Nonsense, our 7th/8th grade team, which included Zoe Vokoun, Rya Nelson, Kayla Muhammad-Flissinger, Gloria Michael, Faith Ballard, and Malina Markey, loved the opportunity to meet competitors from all around the world! Kayla said, “It was so cool meeting people from all around the world and seeing different ways they could solve the problems.” Their team placed 25th overall out of 58 worldwide champs in the Division II “Performance Problem”. Challenged with creating a story of a circus with engineered, original creatures, the team showed up with more than just a show in the 100% kid-driven, ultimate STEAM, creative problem solving competition. A voiceless clown with a noisy little monster at her ear, using humor to hide her self-consciousness. A critical and controlling ringmaster, trying to micromanage it all. A stranger mocking you in the shadows, your inner-voice, until she finally comes out to confront you in the mirror. A bullying newscaster, sharing all the struggles with the world. A teacher too focused on the lesson to notice. A tight-rope walking anxiety monster and a spinning, hiding depression creature. This team made a message on mental health and the trials of being a teen that was heard all the way to the world championship for Odyssey of the Mind where they met faces from all around the world. According to Rya, “It was an amazing experience being able to meet teams from all around the world on the Iowa State campus. I am so grateful for everyone who made this experience possible.”
The Extreme Team, our 5th/6th grade team which included Mia Vokoun, Fenna Vellenga, Aaron Bain, William Kekauoha, Dahlia Bain, Dominic Micheal, and Isabella Gonzales loved the process and the performance with friends. Mia said she “had so much fun performing my problem, meeting OMers from around the world, and doing it all with my best friends.” Their team placed 15th overall out of 45 worldwide champs in the Division II “Technical Problem”. For this problem they needed to create a self- replicating threat to the environment, invent a device to eliminate the threat, include two hiding animals, a creative use of baking soda, and an original song all in less than 8 minutes. William loves OM “because my friends listen to my ideas and we work together to figure out how to get them done. I think I’m way more creative now than I was before.”
WOCJAR Agents, our 3rd/4th grade team, which included Wes Vokoun, Olan Michael, CJ Durham, Jamie Kekauoha, Anja Vellenga, and Ray Romero loved the crazy fun and memories made with friends. Jamie said, “It was so cool to see other people that do crazy creative things like us.” Their team placed 13th overall out of 48 worldwide champs in the Division I “Vehicle Problem”. Challenged with making vehicles that could maneuver through an original escape room, these kids made an imaginary world where NYC transformed into a jungle full of banana portals and Pig-Latin clues, rainbow drawing vehicles and cheese eating mouse cars, and a little bit of Santa Claus to pull it all together.
A major thank you to the entire DV community, family, friends, and everyone who donated to help us make these dreams come true, including our sponsors Thinkom, Skyone, Belwood Properties, Motional, Scott Robinson Automotive, Zacatecas, Sunflower Dentistry, and Morgen Real Estate. Your support made memories that will last a lifetime.
If you’d like to learn more about Odyssey of the Mind you can start exploring here: https://www.odysseyofthemind.com/ or reach out to any of this year’s coaches for more information!
Congratulations to all of our teams and coaches for their beautiful work!