Students Advance to Worlds Competition for Problem Solving Skills - Mountain News : News

Students Advance to Worlds Competition for Problem Solving Skills

By Christian Shepherd, Reporter | Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 9:00 am

An Odyssey of the Mind team of seven students from the Lake Arrowhead Christian School (LACS) have advanced from the state level competition to the worlds level competition that will be held at Michigan State University in May. 

Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive organization that releases six original long-term problems for students of all ages. Each problem contains a few limitations to work within and includes the scoring categories for each question. Odyssey of the Mind provides two types of problems: long-term and spontaneous. 

LACS had two teams of seven compete this year at the regional level on March 9. The second LACS team took fourth place. Christopher Ahmet, Jordan Dever, Evelyn Griggs, Christian Hopkins, Thomas Nalepa, Miryssa Price and Lillian Richardson comprise the team that took first place at the regional level. On Saturday, this team won the spontaneous portion and have now advanced to the world’s-level competition. 

“At the world finals event, they will compete against teams from all over the globe including Switzerland, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, India, etc. as well as almost all 50 USA states,” said Katherine Richardson, coach of the Odyssey of the Mind team. “Hundreds of teams compete in the Southern California region alone, so to advance is a huge accomplishment. The fact that this is the first year that Lake Arrowhead Christian School is participating in the event makes the success even more exciting.”

Richardson said she has watched on this year as the team matured and found success in this very difficult type of competition.

“It is a very demanding program both technically and artistically so the teammates learn to draw on each other’s strengths,” Richardson said. “There is an overarching rule of “No Outside Assistance” that they enforce at every level so teachers, coaches, parents and friends are not allowed to help whatsoever. As coach, I couldn’t even tie an apron for one of the costumes.”

This means that the team of seven students is responsible for the entire solution, including all last minute details. 

It is an excellent program for teaching teamwork, budgeting, project planning, time management, decision making, public speaking, hard work and technical skills related to engineering and other sciences,” Richardson added. “The team that is advancing to Michigan is competing in “Hide in Plain Sight” problem, where they created a robot that outwits a searcher character in an 8 minute skit they wrote, produced and directed about ways creatures camouflage themselves. The team has adopted the moniker “Hiding Eagles” to tie in the Odyssey problem name with their school mascot.”

The team will continue to practice until the world’s competition in May. 

“I am very proud of everything they have accomplished this year and look forward to celebrating with the team in Michigan,” Richardson said.

For more information about the Odyssey of the Mind program, visit

Christian Shepherd can be reached at