Maggie Gilroy , email@example.com | @MaggieGilroy Published 9:43 a.m. ET May 23, 2017 | Updated 12 hours ago
The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will take place from May 24-27. Maggie Gilroy / Staff video
Binghamton High School, St. John the Evangelist School, The Crescent Academy, Vestal Middle School and Windsor Middle School will each be sending one team to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals this year.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)Buy Photo
Since founding the Crescent Academy 10 years ago, RominehDawood-Sethi has coached eight Odyssey of the Mind teams.
The schoola private school in Johnson Citythat provides both an Islamic and academic educationhas never made it past the state tournament.
While Dawood-Sethi led three teams to the state tournament, including last year’s team, this year marks the first that the school will go to the World Finals.
“I joined because I thought if we went to Worlds we would be the first team and I really wanted to go,” said Amr Patel, 8, of Vestal.
The Crescent Academy is one of five local teams competing at the World Finals Wednesday through Sunday at Michigan State University.
OM, which was founded 1978, is a problem-solving competition requiring teams to tackle one of five problems in the form of a skit performed in front of judges. They also have to tackle a “spontaneous” problem on the spot. The teams have limited guidance from coaches and adults.
The area teams had to make it past the regional competition at Broome-Tioga BOCES and States at Binghamton University to make it to Worlds, the highest level of competition.
Over 825 teams will compete at the 38th World Finals. Accompanied by parents and more, the teams will travel to Michigan by way of bus, car and even plane.
Inaaya Sethi, 9, of Binghamton, Keyahn Sethi, 10, of Binghamton,ArmanBajwa, 9, of Endicott, Hibah Rehman, 9, Amina Haq, 9, Seema Patel, 8, and Amr Patel, 9, all of Vestal, make up the Crescent Academy’s first OM world finalists. Kynzee Sethi, 13, of Binghamton(and also a member of Vestal Middle School’s OM team,) serves as Dawood-Sethi’s assistant coach.
“All three of my kids qualified for Worlds,” Dawood-Sethi said.”I don’t know how many other families have all their kids going to Worlds. I feel so blessed.”
Students from the Crescent Academy build a nine-tier cake to replicate Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration cake.(Photo: Provided.)
On May 16, the teamworked in Dawood-Sethi’s driveway in Binghamton, putting the finishing touches on their props and scenery, making repairs from the wear and tear after two competitions.
Some props are fragile, like the nine-tier cake built to resemble Donald Trump’s inauguration cake and a robe made out of 175 paper origami boxes.
Dawood-Sethi oversaw this activity while wearinga red and white long-sleeved shirt that read”Make OM Great Again.” The slogan is in the spirit of the team’s skit: political satire.
The Crescent Academy chose the “Odd-a-Bot” problem, which requires the team to create a humorous story about a family that brings home a robot to performvarious tasks.
Their inspiration came in the form of a Daily Mail article that revealed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to be distant cousins to Queen Elizabeth II.Their skit brings the Queen, Trump and Clinton together for Prince George’s fourth birthday party.
Inaaya Sethi, 9, of Binghamton, wears a robe made out of 175 paper origami boxes.(Photo: Provided.)
While some schools, like the Crescent Academy and Saint John the Evangelist School, are entirelynew to Worlds, others are veterans. Several students from Binghamton, Vestal and Windsor will be returning, with many students looking forward to meeting friends they made along the way.
And there are the many beloved OM traditions veterans look forward to: pin trading between countries, a creativity fair and a ceremonial trip to the dumpster to destroy props and scenery.
The Crescent Academy has only 53 students and is not backed by a district. Students are funding their trip both privately andthrough a grant from NBT Bankand a fundraiser held at Barnes & Noble.
While many students are hoping to take home an award at the World Finals, others feel just being there is the prize.
“At this point they’re already winners” Windsor Middle School’s coach Terry Merrill said. “They get to go to worlds.”
Jameson MacNamee rehearses Windsor Middle School’s OM skit.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
While they are five separate teams, they are all supporting each other on the journey to Michigan. The Windsor Central School District will be transporting Binghamton and SaintJohn’s scenery, and Vestal will be packing upthe Crescent Academy’s as well as their own.
“When you get to Worlds, it’s less about the competition and it’s like, hey, we’re competing against everybody so if New York wins, that’s a victory,” said Binghamton team member Seth Boyd, 18, of Binghamton.
Binghamton High School’s Odyssey of Mind Team places at the regional competition at Binghamton University.(Photo: Provided.)
This year marks the final year ofBinghamton High School’s team, which is made up entirely of seniors.
SeniorsCorey Stento, 18, Joseph Schull, 18, Liam Lynch, 18,Ryan Hall, 17, andSeth Boyd, 17, all of Binghamton, make up the team.
They are coached byJeff Sabol, Cindy Raymond, and Joe Zapach. With the exception of Schull, who is new to the team this year,Sabol has coached some members of the team for as many as six years.
Coaches are not allowed to do any of the work and can help only by answering questions, providing a space and sometimes food.
“They’ve developed into this year, where we’re making them have to keep in touch with us, like ‘hey, what are you guys doing? What are you up to?” Sabol said. “Because they’re really so self-driven.”
Each year, Binghamton High School’s OM team chooses the structure problem.(Photo: Provided.)
Each year, theteam has chosen “Ready, set, balsa, build!,” the fourth problem in this year’s lineup. The problem requires them to create a structure entirely of balsa wood that holds as much weight as possible, adding weight as the skit progresses.
Their skit depicts an “elephant chase,” withfive friends who are trapped in the wilderness and run into a radio station cabin to escape from an elephant.
The district will be funding the team’s entire trip, and all five of the members will fly to Michigan.
“It was the greatest feeling ever not hearing your name called fifth, fourth and third and then realizing we’re in the top two,” Schull said of the state competition.
The Odyssey of the Mind team from St. John the Evangelist School ranges in age from 6-11.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
With students ranging from ages 6-11, Rebecca Malmquist, coach of St. John the Evangelist School, said her team has garnered a reputation at each competition as being “the little ones.”
The team consists of Ariana Isaacs, 6, of Binghamton, Drake Malmquist, 9, of Greene,Xitalali Urrea, 7, of Endwell, Rhea Malmquist, 11, of Greene, Eliot Garcia, 9, of Binghamton, Alaina Lee, 8, of Binghamton and Isaac Garcia, 11, of Binghamton.
The group chose problem one, “Catch Us If You Can.” This required the group to create three vehicles that all have to meet at a secret meeting place.
“I learned that Odyssey of the Mind is about teamwork,” Urrea said.
As one of the senior members of the group, Rhea Malmquist had to step up and help coach and deliver the paperwork for the judges.
“It’s fun working with different aged kids,” Malmquist said.
St. John the Evangelist School’s Odyssey of the Mind team chose the “Catch Us If You Can” problem.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
The Broome County Catholic Schools and Catholic School Foundation have provided monetary for the group.
“You find out your team and your kids are going on and you’re really really excited and you realize you’re going to spend a whole lot of money unexpectedly,” Rebecca Malmquist said.
Vestal Middle School’s skit was inspired by the newest zodiac sign.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
Like the Crescent Academy, Vestal Middle School’s team likes to tackle current events with their skit and began writing it as the 13th zodiac sign was released.
The team’s skit deals with the theme of astrology versus astronomy, and what happens after astronauts discover the 13th zodiac sign.
The team is also tackling the “Catch Us if You Can” problem.
Coached by Siobhan Davey and Kally Schoenfeldt, the team is made up of Jessica Elie, 12, of Vestal, Kynzee Sethi, 13, of Binghamton, Raveena Rai, 12 of Vestal, Amelia Davey, 13, of Vestal, Sarah Tait, 13, ofApalachin, Delaney Schoenfeldt, 13, of Vestal, and Kara Dhakal, 12, of Vestal.
Vestal Middle School’s OM team had to create vehicles to complete the “Catch Us If You Can” problem.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
Elie headed up the skit’s writing, with her first draft spanning 19 pages long. The team ended up cutting it down to six pages.
Half of the team went to the World Finals two years ago and a few new members are experiencing the competition for the first time.
“Someone could have gone deaf with the screams they heard at states,” Schoenfeldt said. “It’s awesome to win and it’s so fun to be with your team and you get to skip school, too.”
The team will be traveling by bus, andheld a fundraiser at California Grillto help fund the trip.Theywill also hold a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble on June 11, where shoppers can have a portion of their proceeds donated to the team, and arereceiving donations from Broome Cooperative Insurance companies and IBM.
Windsor Middle School had to create classic pieces of artwork for their OM skit.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
Windsor Middle School is fond of the classics andtackled problem three, “Classics Its Time, OMER.”
Coached by Terry Merrill, the team is made up of Lucy Beattie, 12, of Binghamton, Nicholas Mara, 13, Brynn Andrews, 11, Jameson MacNamee, 11, Allison Forbidussi, 11, and Skylar Thomas, 12, of Windsor.
The team was required to pick two classic paintings off of a list and create a skit that traveled back into the time of each painting and once into the future. Beattie re-created the skit’s two classicpaintings: “Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk” by Leonardo DaVinci and “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh.
“We always like the classics,” MacNamee said.
Lucy Beattie re-created “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh for Windsor Middle School’s OM skit.(Photo: Maggie Gilroy / Staff photo)
Terry Merrill has been coaching OM teams at Windsor Middle school fornine years and made it to the World Finals twice. The Windsor School Board will be funding the school’s entire trip.
Savannah Rolston, 16, was on Merril’s team the last time she went to the World Finals and is returning as an assistant coach.
“When you finally finish with it, you look back on everything that you’ve done and it gives you a sense of accomplishment,” Mara said.
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