by Nick Damarodis and Chloe Verwiel
On March 17th, students from New Hope-Solebury High School participated in the annual Odyssey of the Mind competition for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Region. The team won first place.
Additionally, they were one of only two teams to be honored out the 160 teams that participated for their exemplary creativity by receiving the Ranatra Fusca Award.
Odyssey of the Mind is a competition based on solving a various range of problems with creative solutions. Each team is allowed to choose one of the five tasks.
The tasks include building and creating vehicles that only run on energy created from mousetraps, inventing a simple machine to perform a task, making a performance where a character from a classical play acts as a tour guide, designing a structure out of balsa wood and glue, and creating a performance in which something changes in appearance three times and then changes back into its original form.
Teams are given several months to plan, create, and develop solutions to these problems. After creating their solution, they go to a competition and are judged by volunteers who determine which solution was the most creative.
New Hope-Solebury chose the problem that involved making a musical act using Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy from Hamlet “To be or not to be.”
The team went with a Willy Wonka theme with the moral being “To sell my Gobstopper or not to sell my Gobstopper.”
In the time given to prepare, the team wrote their own script about how Charlie debates whether or not he should sell the Gobstopper to Slugworth. The team also made large, colorful props and scenery, including a backdrop depicting the inside of the building with a brick wall featuring a lot of graffiti.
The team also had to participate in an extemporaneous problem-solving competition the day of the event. The team had to report to a room in the afternoon where they received a specific problem and five to 10 minutes to complete it.
The team is scored on the logic, creativity and teamwork. Unfortunately, the team is not allowed to share information about what tasks they performed since the problems are reused.
New Hope scored well and advanced. After winning regionals, New Hope went to the statewide competition.
While this competition was much tougher, New Hope freshmen Chloe Verwiel, Tiffany Tao, Kalie Berman, Carrie Hetzel, Jackson Toone, Jacob Steinberg and Jasmine Bailey felt up to the task. They had slightly less than a month to prepare for the next step.
Throughout that month, the team continued to work on their scenery and practice their lines.
In May the team went to States and went up against 11 other teams in their category. This included every team doing the “to be or not to be” problem in grades nine through 11 who had won in their respective regional competitions.
Through their hard work, New Hope earned third place.