Odyssey of the Mind is providing students with a creative and academic outlet


Odyssey of the Mind

The Odyssey of the Mind team hanging out at one of FHC’s dances

In the span of one day, junior Aden Pomeroy found himself meeting people from Switzerland, China, Korea, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, and beyond. 

Aden has been a part of Odyssey of the Mind for four years now, and one of his favorite aspects is the variety of people he gets to meet through the program. 

Aden explains that one of the best ways for so many different types of people to connect at Odyssey of the Mind—even when their languages differ—is through pin trading. In this event, every team from each region has their own set of pins to trade with people from across the world. 

“I have a lot of pins from China and Korea, a lot from Mexico, and a lot from Turkey,” Aden said. “It’s basically a way that everyone from everywhere can connect; especially if they can’t speak your language, you can connect that way, and it’s easier and also really fun.”

In addition to meeting a diverse group of new people, many other experiences have been presented to Aden through Odyssey of the Mind. 

In particular, some of the lessons that he has learned are because of the more academic and creative sides of Odyssey of the Mind. 

“Sometimes, you just have to stand back and let people who know exactly what has to be done take control,” Aden said. “And you have to be open to everything, every idea, all the possibilities. You definitely need to be confident with what you’re doing in order to have the best chance of winning.”

One of Aden’s fellow team members is junior Tara Brace. Tara has been a part of Odyssey of the Mind for eight years, and she agrees that it has taught her many lessons in that time. 

Tara feels as though it’s been an outlet for her to let loose creatively and productively, one that not only aids her own self-interests and mind but also helps build so many long-lasting friendships. 

“I’ve learned a lot of artistic and creative skills as well as social and performing skills,” Tara said. “Now, I am a lot better at thinking on the spot, and it’s helped me a lot just in general, with life skills and friendships as well.”

One of the best ways Tara uses some of her creative skills is through the sets and props she has to build for her team.

“One year, we built a giant dragon head that burst through a curtain,” Tara said, “and we had someone holding it through the back, doing this menacing voice. It was really cool, especially because we made it look like he was breathing fire by shooting confetti through his mouth. That was one of the projects I was most proud of and had a lot of fun with.”

I have learned that there are so many ways to solve one problem.”

— Tara Brace

Projects like the dragon head allow Tara to recognize the importance of teamwork and honing in on new and potentially different, ideas. In addition to learning new things, Tara is also learning how to work within the constraints of a budget and in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

“I have learned that there are so many ways to solve one problem,” Tara said. “A lot of our best stuff is made of literal trash or recycled materials because that’s all we were allowed to use. So I think it’s just cool to see that you can make anything up, and for a cheap price as well.”

Sophomore Sydney Fentzke has felt the powerful effects of Odyssey of the Mind in a similar way that Aden and Tara explained. 

She has felt it through the bonds she has formed with her teammates as well as finding out her strengths and weaknesses due to the exercises Odyssey of the Mind demands of its members.

“You get to know your friends,” Sydney said, “but you also get to really find yourself and how you can be creative and how you incorporate your own ideas to the situation. I was doing something that required hard work, but I was enjoying it.”

Most importantly, Sydney always finds herself laughing with her team. Whether it be a funny inside joke or an idea that didn’t work out but was still really fun to try, Sydney smiles through it all.

“You laugh; you have so many laughs and you joke around and come up with your own inside jokes that [are] just so fun,” Sydney said. “You get this group of people that you might not really know at first, but by the end, you’ve shared so many experiences together that it makes all the hard work worth it.”