Land O' Lakes high schoolers earn Odyssey of the Mind world championship title

High schoolers from the Academy at the Lakes in Land O’ Lakes are the newest Odyssey of the Mind world champions.

"It is a creative problem-solving competition, and so teams are tasked with solving what's called a long-term problem, which they work on all season," the team’s head coach Suzanne Meiners-Levy said. "Then, they're also working on spontaneous problem-solving, which is going into a room, being given a problem of any type, and then needing to solve it right on the spot in that moment."

For the past two years, first place at the world competition has been just out of reach for the Academy at the Lakes’ Odyssey of the Mind. 

"They traveled first to Iowa and then to Michigan, and missed the podium by fractions of a point," Meiners-Levy said.

This year, though, they were at the top of the podium.

"Placing was truly an amazing experience and a moment that I don't think I'm going to forget solely, because I didn't see it coming," Audrey Gorski, who just finished her junior year, said. "I was nervous until the bitter end, but I think that all together we earned it, and I'm really proud of us."

Their technical team recently came in first at the Odyssey of the Mind’s world competition in Iowa. The competition blends the arts, theater and engineering to come up with creative solutions to a problem. This year, they created an artificial intelligence device for the competition. 

"There was a mechanical device that was constructed that used a series of lifting lever arms, balloons, horns and falling weights, moving, pulleys, wheels, all of that to rearrange a piece of art," Eugene Ross, who just graduated, said.

They’re three-time state champs, but they said this win was different.

"To have won worlds and on my last year, oh it is great fun," Ross said. 

The students said they’re better together.

"The way we've kind of grown so close as a team that we can kind of, it sounds corny, but solve any problem," Allison Fox, who just finished her junior year, said.

"When you accomplish something after so many times of getting so close, there's a really extra special magic to that," Meiners-Levy said.

Ross plans to study mechanical engineering in the fall at Tufts University. He said being on the team for three years gave him a lot of experience doing exactly what he hopes to do in the future. 


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