GPS Elementary School teams advance to Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals

Two Greenwich Public Schools (GPS) elementary teams, one from Cos Cob School and one from Parkway School, achieved top qualifying scores at the 35th annual Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind (CTOM) State Final Tournament held on April 2. As Connecticut first and second place teams respectively, the Cos Cob and Parkway teams qualify for the Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals, to be held May 25-28 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

In addition, three GPS teams earned the Jill Riggles Award for Excellence in Spontaneous, given to the top scoring team for the spontaneous problem within each division. The three teams were: Parkway Vehicle Team, Parkway Technical Team, and Cos Cob Classics Team.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

The Cos Cob Classics Team of Julian Wang, Angelica Marin, Nathan Apelgren, Kenneth Wilber, Juliette Homewood, Ronit Gupta, and Deirdre Cunniffe placed first in Problem #3: Aesop Gone Viral, Division I. Using a restricted budget, the team created and presented an original performance about a fable gone “viral.” The performance was set in a past era and included a narrator character, an artistic representation of the fable’s moral, and a character who makes a wrong conclusion about the moral and is corrected.

The Parkway Vehicle Team of Ellery Futch, Drew Hanna, Alex McGarvey, Sam Santangelo, and Jackson Schnabel qualified for the World Finals after placing second in Problem #1: No-Cycle Recycle, Division I. In Problem #1, teams build, ride on, and drive a no-cycle, recycling vehicle while not exceeding a budget limit. Traveling without pedaling for propulsion, the vehicle must pick up discarded items, adapt them in some way, and then deliver them to places to be re-used. Each team was also required to make an unplanned stop along the way to perform a random act of kindness.

At the CTOM State Tournament, the GPS students presented their eight-minute long-term problem solution to judges, competing against all other Connecticut teams presenting that same problem within their division. Each team also completed a “Spontaneous Problem” as a team: a quick (approximately 10 minutes) creative-thinking problem. Both scores were added together and the top two teams within each problem and division qualified for the World Finals. All GPS teams competed at the Division I level, which represents grades 3-5.

Other GPS teams competing included: Parkway School Technical Team (Problem #2: Something Fishy), Riverside School Balsa Team (Problem #4: Stack Attack!), Julian Curtiss School Vehicle Team (Problem #1: No-Cycle Recycle), Julian Curtiss School Performance Team (Problem #5: Furs, Fins, Feathers, & Friends), and Old Greenwich School Balsa Team (Problem #4: Stack Attack!).

Increased GPS participation in Odyssey of the Mind – Connecticut was made possible by a generous grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education. The grant application and District program coordination was led by Parkway School teacher Kristina Koprowski.

About Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind (

CTOM was organized in 1981 in order to bring the magic of the Odyssey of the Mind program to Connecticut youth.

About the Greenwich Alliance for Education (

The Greenwich Alliance for Education mobilizes community resources to provide opportunities and services that foster educational success for all Greenwich Public Schools students. We define “educational success” for students as the ability to pursue further education and/or to work to support oneself after graduation.

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