Students participate in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals online

Jenna Ho-Sing-Loy, Sports Editor

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Over the next seven minutes and 54 seconds, Sydney Hubbard (10) investigated the disappearance of a ghost ship with her newfound friend Doug the Kraken, played by Katie Jacques (10).  The ocean-themed skit, full of puns and witty humor, was a part of this Odyssey of the Mind team’s submission for the World Finals competition, which was recently reconfigured to be entirely online as teams couldn’t perform in person.  

Hubbard’s team of seven had to use an unedited video from before quarantine to submit to the competition, so although the team had made improvements to costumes and the overall performance of the skit, they couldn’t include those revisions in this entry. 

“It was hard to figure out if we were going to use a video we had filmed previously or try to film a new one using Zoom,” Hubbard said. “We went with an old video because it would be better quality than anything we filmed on Zoom.” 

Along with sending in the skit, Odyssey teams had to participate in an online spontaneous round. Teams were given a problem and had three days to write down and  submit as many creative solutions as they could.  Hubbard said that she really liked the way that they had to do that round and the online version was the most efficient way they could have done it. It still kept all the elements of a regular spontaneous competition while having the teams submit an ideas document instead of solving the problem in person.  

The judging process is slowed as the judges have to look through more videos than usual, but the official result of the competition will be released on May 30.  

“I think we did pretty well,” Hubbard said.  “We had a really great spontaneous because we had more time to complete it and our long-term skit is strong too.”  

Jacques agreed and said that she felt that the longer response times allowed the team to be more creative with their answers. She also said she believed that it was a lot less stressful than the in-person event would have been.

Hubbard and Jacques both agreed that while this Odyssey of the Mind World Finals was fun and the directors did well amidst the uncertain circumstances, it will never make up for the actual in-person competition. They didn’t have the chance to meet other teams, trade pins, and get food together.  Overall, the event felt a lot smaller to them.  

“Not being in-person did take a lot away from the experience,” Jacques said.  “Usually, all of the teams meet up in one place and there are ceremonies and parades. It’s such an incredible experience, but since everyone was at home, that didn’t get to happen.”  

 Another aspect of the online competition that had the opportunity to make some people unhappy: the fact that this year, in an attempt to give everyone a chance to compete, all teams got moved straight into the worlds competition from regionals, skipping states. While this might seem unfair to some, Jacques said that it just added to the variety of teams they competed against.  

“The competition this year is so different anyway in terms of judging that letting in some extra teams isn’t going to strongly impact the competition,” she said.  “Ultimately, I think this year isn’t about winning the competition, it’s more about having fun during this bad situation.” 

Sydney Hubbard (10), Katie Jacques (10), Kate Lew (10),  Sarah Dean (10),  Elena Betancort (10), Claire McLaughlin (10), and Brianna Vargas (10) perform their prepared skit for the online World Finals competition, Feb 23. They spent months preparing this skit.