Four WV Odyssey teams off to Worlds; remembering Dr. Sam


Four WV Odyssey teams off to Worlds; remembering Dr. Sam

April 18, 2024

Warwick Valley sent eight teams to the Odyssey of the Mind New York State tournament this past weekend. All of our teams placed within the top seven of their respective challenges, and four Warwick Valley teams will be headed to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals on May 21-24 at Iowa State University. 

Here’s a look at our Warwick teams, and please take a moment to read an “in memoriam” for Dr. Sam Micklus, the creative, innovative and inspirational founder of Odyssey of the Mind, who passed away this week at the age of 89.

WVMS – Division 2, Problem 2
1st Place and headed to Worlds!

Sanfordville – Division 1, Problem 2
1st Place and headed to Worlds!

Park Avenue – Division 1, Problem 5
1st place and headed to Worlds!

WVMS – Division 2, Problem 1
2nd Place and headed to Worlds!

WVHS Division 3, Problem 2
3rd place

Park Avenue – Division 1, Problem 3
6th place

WVHS – Division 3, Problem 3
6th place

Sanfordville – Division 1, Problem 1
7th place

Congratulations, everyone, on your hard work! 

An OMer’s Ode to the OMer: Remembering Dr. Sam

C. Samuel Micklus

Shortly after this year’s Odyssey of the Mind state tournaments wrapped up, the sad news broke that Odyssey of the Mind founder Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, known warmly and worldwide as Dr. Sam, had passed away. Warwick Valley Odyssey coach and the Class of 2024 salutatorian Ava Gell shared her sentiments.   

“As OMers, Dr. Sam was a celebrity in our world! He connected thousands of us — reaching from our own backyards, around the globe — in ways we never would even imagine were possible. I first joined an Odyssey team in third grade and continued as a competitor until my freshman year. That year, the pandemic changed things up quite a bit for the competition,” Ava shared. “But after the pandemic I decided to volunteer with my sister’s team. That was my first year as an OOTM Assistant Coach, and for past two years I have coached my own elementary school team. It has been the most rewarding experience EVER!”

Dr. Sam first wrote the first challenging problems that would become the foundation for Odyssey while teaching at Rowan University in New Jersey. His industrial design courses rewarded risk-takers, promoted the engineering design process, and encouraged the exploration of innovative ideas. The first Odyssey of the Mind — though it was not yet called that — took place in 1978, between 28 junior high and high school teams who gathered to face Dr. Sam’s challenges. In the decades since, Dr. Sam continued to write the problems that have both challenged and delighted the creative competitors who have become known as OMers.     

Ava Gell

“This was my tenth year of involvement with Odyssey, and my team placed 6th in the entire state,” said an enthused Ava. “I’m proud of the leadership role I’ve taken, but even more so the positive impact I’ve been able to make on the many creative kids I’ve been so lucky to get to know.

Dr. Sam’s Odyssey has taught me what it’s like to be part of something that extends beyond just my little world, and what it’s like to create joy for others. Through Odyssey, I’ve come to understand the influence one person can have on so many lives, and it keeps amazing me just how much love one person can feel.

To think that I’ve been able to inspire a new generation of OMers; it’s all been an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Like so many of her fellow OMers, it’s evident that, as this year’s salutatorian, Ava has embraced one of Dr. Sam’s most well-known instructions for living: Don’t make it ‘good enough,’ make it the best it can be!

Warwick Valley Odyssey joins OMers everywhere and everyone at Odyssey HQ in sending their sympathies to the Micklus family, while appreciating Dr. Sam’s lifetime of inspiration. There will be a tribute to Dr. Sam at the opening ceremonies of the Odyssey of the Mind 2024 World Finals, coming up in May at Iowa State University.


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