Odyssey of the Mind finishes seventh at states

When President of Odyssey of the Mind Lauren Mclaughlin (11) was asked what her club entailed, she summed it up into one phrase: “think outside of the box.”

Every year, the club is given one prompt they have to answer for the state competition with only seven people per team. These prompts change every year, formatted in a way that challenges the club’s creative thinking skills. When the prompt is released in September, they immediately go to work and answer it.

“This year’s was called ‘Mockumentary! Seriously?’ where we had to come up with a mockumentary that was based on a classic fairy-tale,” President Lauren McLaughlin said.

Despite the title, the project required them to create a skit that no other school would think of. They needed to think outside of the box.

“We combined ‘Peter Pan’ with ‘The Bachelor,’ so we had Peter as the bachelor and the other characters from the story were the contestants,” McLaughlin said.

The club made their skit come to life with a handmade set, props and costumes. They were required to make everything in order to abide by the prompt’s rules. As the state competition approached, the team had high hopes.

“My expectations were fairly high,” McLaughlin said. “We didn’t care how we placed and we were overall excited to go and perform.”

For the state competition at UC Riverside on March 24, they presented their skit in front of the panel of 10 judges based on their division. With the set prepared and costumes on, the team felt slight butterflies in their stomachs.

“We were a little nervous while performing, but we made the most out of it because for some of us, it was our last competition,” Vice President Olyvia Dibsie said.

They were most worried about whether they would be able to juggle all of the elements effectively.

“Since we’re all depending on each other, we had a lot of things like stage fighting scenes and music times, [which all] had to work perfectly within the time limit,” McLaughlin said.

Afterwards, the team said they were especially pleased with one of their fight scenes, one that many other schools couldn’t achieve.

“[We had] one stage-fighting scene, where we used a sheet and a light and the actors were behind the sheet so the judges would see just the silhouette of the actors fighting,” McLaughlin said.

The chuckles from the audience echoed in the room while they were performing. Soon, their play soon came to a close. Their nerves subsided and they waited for their results.

Within their own division, they were awarded with 7th place out of 12.

The team said they were initially disappointed, but they felt accomplished at how far their process has taken them. They knew that next year would be a new  chapter for their club.

“I think we’re proud of the way our season went and the members are excited to see what the next year will bring,” McLaughlin said.