Warwick Valley has banner year in Odyssey of the Mind competitions


Warwick Valley has banner year in Odyssey of the Mind competitions

June 29, 2021

It has been an exciting, if unconventional, year for Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM). Despite the unique challenges that 2021 added to the competition – on top of the awesome creative challenges everyone expects from OOTM – problem-solving OMERs throughout the District put together a truly impressive run that began at the regional Mid-Hudson competition, and continued right through the Virtual World Finals.  

Congratulations to two of our teams who took home high overall finishes at the Virtual World Finals, which were held from April 30 through May 29. One of our WVHS teams finished their problem/division in fifth place, and Sanfordville Elementary came in second place for their problem/division. This is the fifth time in the past five years that teams from the District have reached the finals.   

As per OOTM protocol, teams choose a problem to solve at the beginning of each competitive season, and then carry their same problem-solving performance throughout each stage of the competition. Sanfordville (Division 1), tackled Problem 1, entitled Omer the Roamer. Their second-place finish at Worlds followed a first-place finish at the state level, where the team also won a Ranatra Fusca Award for “exceptional creativity and risk taking” in some aspect of their solution. Coached by Heidi and Kevin Powers, the Sanfordville OOTM team included:

  • Madison Candia
  • Eamonn Byrne
  • Jadalynn Acosta
  • Jaelyn Quadrino
  • Nathan Vanadio
  • John Powers
  • Emily Powers

“The students divided up the backdrops and worked on them at home independently,” said Heidi Powers. “Their motivation to get the job done and do their best work was commendable. And, Madison did an outstanding job learning how to drive an eight-foot vehicle with 40 pounds dropping behind her – we’re talking forwards and backwards!”

Warwick Valley High School (Division 3), also took on Problem 1, Omer the Roamer. Their fifth-place finish at Worlds came after a third-place finish at the state level. Coached by Rekha Woods and Donna Denny, the High School OOTM team included:

  • Naa Korkoi (Kooki) Aryeetey
  • Sophie Cresser
  • Ava Gell
  • Olivia Holland
  • Alexa Keys
  • Rachel Powers
  • Julie Woods

“This year, the team had the real life problem of how to work together on their solution safely,” said coach Woods. “The team approached this additional challenge with great determination and enthusiasm. Using their creative problem solving skills, they overcame many obstacles, working for countless hours on vehicle design, script, rehearsal, and set design through virtual meetings. They each created and worked on pieces at home for their team solution. With a only a few socially distanced vehicle runs and rehearsals, they were able to record their performance. It was truly inspiring to see all of it come together at the end, like pieces of a puzzle that form a whole picture.” 

Throughout the season, every Warwick team had to hold their rehearsals and meetings virtually, with pretty much zero in-person meetings. They confronted that added challenge with ingenuity and dedication, and their hard work paid off.

Altogether, Warwick sent seven OOTM teams to the Virtual World Finals to compete against OMERs from around the globe. We are proud to share that all of the Warwick teams placed among the top 10 percent overall.

Special gratitude goes to all of our coaches, who did such an amazing job keeping the program running under these unusual circumstances.

“Warwick Odyssey of the Mind is a very special program that wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support of the District, parents, and the community,” said Heidi Powers. “The valuable skills that the students learn will stay with them as they grow up, and [they will] impact their communities with their creativity and different ways of thinking to solve problems.”  

Want to read more about the successes of our creative OMERs this year? You can check out this recap of the state competition, and you can even go back a little further and read our recap of the regional competition.

Congratulations, to all of our talented and hard-working OMERs!

Sanfordville Elementary School – 2021 Odyssey of the Mind

Warwick Valley High School – 2021 Odyssey of the Mind


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