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Odyssey team headed to States following Regionals victory

Sophomores Jacob Knox and Justin Roberts work on an Odyssey of the Mind project. Photo by McKenna Hisaw

With Regionals completed, and States following close behind it, the Bear River Odyssey of the Mind teams are prepared for their creativity to shine.

On March 3, the Odyssey of the Mind Regional competition, a creative problem solving program for students in all grades, took place and Bear River took home the first place spot.

Coach James Ronka explained what he believes is most important about coaching the teams.

“Being an Odyssey of the Mind coach provides me with an opportunity to prepare students for life after high school,” he said. “I truly believe in the positive impact that Odyssey of the Mind has on students and want to be a part of it.”

He also explained how others can support Odyssey of the Mind without being directly in the club.

Successful Odyssey of the Mind teams are supported by a significant number of people and organizations,” he said. “It takes a village.”

According to Coach Ronka, during the competition, two different problems are presented: the team’s long term-problem that they receive a few months before Regionals and the spontaneous, also know as “spont,”  problem which is given on the spot in front of a panel of judges.

Maddie Pratt, another freshman, explained why she enjoyed the spont problems.

“Sometimes you have a problem and somebody will come up with completely random answers,” she said. “A year later, I could walk up to that person and say their answer, and they would know exactly what I was talking about … It gives you great, creative answers that creates memories.”

“The crazy wildness,” Emily Adamson, a freshman said simply. “It’s completely random, but it’s considered creative.”

Whitney Lybbert, a sophomore, added what she likes most about these problems.

“I guess I enjoy thinking on my feet and having to come up with stuff really fast,” she said. “It could be really fun.”

Many different people said that they have different views on how they feel about competitions. Some would be very competitive and ready to go, and others might be hesitant.

Connor Ronka, a sophomore, gave his view on competition.

“It’s stressful,” he said. “It’s really satisfying, though, to go on to the next stage of competition and when you go on it’s like, ‘Yay! We did it! We got through that part and now we have two weeks to fix everything before the next part.’”

Pratt added her opinion.

“It’s just those fun times in the middle that are great too that make it so much fun,” she said. “Sometimes you get tired so you fall asleep, so everyone smothers you with a blanket.”

As an Odyssey student, Ronka explained what he believes students should embody when on a team.

“You have to have a level of dedication to the program,” he said. “And I guess if you don’t do that then, you’re not going to get much done.”

What is so special about Odyssey of the Mind that draws students to join in the first place?

Lybbert explained what she loves about Odyssey.

“I just enjoy the creativity of it,” she said. “There’s lots of room to basically kind of do what you want, within your problem.”

“Every year, we get more crazy ideas for what to use,” Ronka added. “Use something for something completely different for what it’s actually used for. So that’s just kind of how it all changed over the years.”

As a final thought, Maddie Pratt added what she thinks Odyssey accomplishes.

“In a classroom, you feel like you can raise your hand, you ask a question and you might be judged, whereas in Odyssey, you can ask the craziest questions and nobody would judge you,” she said. “They might laugh, but they would laugh along with you. In a classroom, it’s a lot more strict and everybody is much more serious. In Odyssey, you can let your freak flag fly.”

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Odyssey team headed to States following Regionals victory