A team of Hall County School District students won first place at the 2019 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held at Michigan State University in late May.
The World Language Academy middle school team, after finishing third in 2018, took the top spot in the annual competition that challenges students to be innovative creators and inventors.
The team — Trinity Failyer, Anna Turpin, Aiden Johnson, Emma Vega, Jamie Ingraham, Mae Mae Willard and Sarah Turpin — was given the “Hide in Plain Sight” problem, besting 58 other teams in the division.
For this problem, teams built a mechanical creature that changed its appearance three times to avoid being detected by a Searcher Character.
“At the end, the creature will surprise everyone by changing its appearance a final time to reveal its true self,” according to the challenge description. “The creative emphasis of the problem are on the performance, the creature’s engineering, its final change of appearance, and its true self.”
The competition has strict rules that require teams receive no outside help or influence, be it from teachers, parents or their peers.
Students are individually interviewed by the competition judges to determine if their designs are unique and created independently.
The World Language Academy team has competed the past five years, placing in the top 10 each year.
Meanwhile, a team representing Flowery Branch High School earned a silver medal, another strong showing following a first-place finish in 2018.
The competition included 890 teams from the United States and 14 other countries representing elementary, middle, high schools and colleges.
In total, five Odyssey of the Mind Teams from the Hall County School District placed in this year’s competition, with Cherokee Bluff High School notching a 9th place finish; Academies of Discovery taking 11th Place in the middle school division; and Martin Technology Academy placing 33rd in the elementary school division.