It Takes a Village

When it comes to Odyssey of the Mind, it truly does take a village to deliver a positive and fulfilling experience.  The regional Odyssey of the Mind competition took place this weekend, and never was that so apparent.  If you spent more than 15 minutes at West Potomac High School you crossed paths with a Thomas Jefferson student, parent, teacher, or administrator!

Twenty-five teams participated in the event.  That translates to…

  • …40 parent coaches and co-coaches.  Coaches are the true heroes of Odyssey of the Mind.  They meet with their teams for months, helping children build teamwork skills and guiding them in their endeavors to solve some quite complicated problems.  It can be a thankless job (so if you’re reading this and your child benefited from the efforts of a volunteer coach, be sure to thank them!).
  • …25 parents and teachers serving as judges.  Judges dedicated a Saturday in February to training and spent the entire competition day on Saturday serving selflessly — their effort and commitment meant they didn’t get to see their own children perform!   This year we had two teachers step in and judge as well, saving the day for a couple of TJ teams.  Huge thanks to 3rd grade teacher Christopher Barnes and former TJ teacher Steve Erick!
  • …a trio of coordinators.  Fifth grade teachers Lisa Mueller and Torey Fay served ably alongside the phenomenal PTA Odyssey of the Mind coordinator, Amy Trombo.  Over the last several years, Amy has proven to be a wealth of knowledge about Odyssey of the MInd as well as a source of unlimited energy and dedication.  She is an incredible cheerleader for an incredible program.  Hers will be large shoes to fill next year and I can’t say enough about what she has done for the students of TJ!
  • … several dedicated TJ teachers and administrators who served as volunteers.  Fourth grade teacher Lisa Allan spent a Saturday volunteering at the Odyssey of the Mind judges’ training; she also spent five hours on the last snow day helping to put stickers with team information on score sheets.  Her teammate, Mary Kelly, walked almost six miles on Saturday delivering scores to the score room!  Amy Thomas, who works with our visually impaired students at TJ, was also at West Potomac on Saturday, serving breakfast to our incredible judges.  Librarian Jennie Ehrenzeller spent much of the day registering teams alongside Principal Bob Palermo.  And Assistant Principal Michele Harcarik helped out at the concessions stand, selling all sorts of fun stuff!

All of this hard work routinely results in success for our students, and this year was no different!

Nicole Keating and Holly Hollman‘s team earned the highest score for “Style” in their problem and division.  Great job, Finn Keating, Jameson Smith, Patrick McDonald, Matteo Chiappetta, and Robbie Woodbury .

Keith and Erin Bartlett’s team earned the highest score for “Spontaneous Problem Solving” in their problem and division. Nicely done Ethan Bartlett, Jay Humphreys, Hannah Bruce, Garon Neubert, and Tucker Ward

Doug Carpenter‘s team also earned the highest score for “Spontaneous Problem Solving” in their problem and division. Congratulations to Colleen Carpenter, Megan Carpenter, Owen Yeatman, Alexandra Jerez, Fiona Scheer, George Salmoiraghi, and Andres Senderowitsch.

Two teams won 1st place and will be heading to the Virginia State Odyssey of the Mind Competition in April.  Congratulations to the team coached by Suzanna Bowie and Kasey Flanagan:  Marshall Bowie, Jack Flanagan, Bella Paradiso, Delia Paradiso, Zoraida Icabalceta, Jax Reitmeyer, and Tobias Senderowitsch.  Further congratulations to the team coached by Kevin Ruby and Harry Rissetto:  Avery Ruby, Amalia Alexander, Emma Ward, Eleanor Gieser and Olivia Rissetto!

In the end, all of the students who participate in Odyssey of the Mind learn valuable lessons in cooperation, organization, planning, engineering, performing, and so much more.


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