Back-to-Back World Finals for OM Team
A team of eighth graders from Upper St. Clair’s Fort Couch Middle School finished fourth overall and first in long-term performance at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals May 24-27 at Michigan State University. The USC team competed in a division with 71 teams representing 29 states and nine countries.
The Fort Couch World Finals team is comprised of eighth graders Victoria Cuba, Brianna Lin, Joseph Markovitz, Max Murtough, Sammie Seewald, Constantine Tripodes and Eric Wang. This marks the second year in a row that this OM team has advanced to the World Finals. The team is coached by Laura Murtough, Stacey Seewald and Meridith Markovitz.
“The team’s journey was the result of eight months of hard work and collaboration to create an eight-minute performance with no assistance from coaches, teachers, family or friends,” Mrs. Murtough said. “After placing in the top two at both the regional and state tournaments in the spring, the team earned its place at the World Finals where they competed against teams from near and far.”
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving STEAM program that teaches students how to tap in to their creativity so it can be applied to real-world problems. In the program, students solve one of five long-term problems. They bring their solutions to competition on the local, state and world levels where they are judged on creativity and risk-taking.
At an Odyssey competition, teams are scored in three areas: a long-term problem, resulting in an eight-minute performance; style, including elements that enhance a solution; and a spontaneous problem, which is solved on-the-spot with no prior knowledge of the problem.
The Fort Couch team solved the performance problem “To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger.” The problem required teams to present a humorous performance about a situation where creativity is threatened, but saved by an unexpected superhero. The Fort Couch team’s solution also included a choreographed battle, a cliffhanger ending and a special smoke effect generated by a simple heating element and vegetable glycerin.
In the team’s creative interpretation, a Marvel illustrator experiences a creative block, which prevents him from coming up with a superhero for his latest comic book. Inside his brain, the corpus callosum leads an investigation into the cause of the creative block. Blocked by a brain freeze, a brain fart and a brainwash, the illustrator can only be saved by a single sensory neuron with shape-shifting powers who can see outside the brain and transform into items that help save the day.
“The judges enjoyed their ‘clever storyline, amazing detail and humor’,” Mrs. Murtough said. “We’re so proud of these kids. It’s a real treat to witness their creative process. Their continuous passion and dedication are something very special.”
Want to learn more about Odyssey of the Mind in Upper St. Clair? Plan to attend Ingenuity Camp! USC Odyssey of the Mind is running a summer Ingenuity Camp for students in grades one through seven from June 26-30. For more information or to register, visit www.uscootm.com