Biddeford’s Odyssey of the Mind teams place first in Maine, head to World Finals

Biddeford High School’s Odyssey of Mind team, consisting of Emily Michael, Camilla Roberge, Ella Ireland and Eva Aranovitch, placed first in the state competition and is heading to the world competition in Iowa. Courtesy picture

BIDDEFORD – Students from Biddeford Intermediate School and Biddeford High School won first place in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals held at Noble High School on March 26. The win qualified both teams to compete in the World Finals May 25-28 at the University. from Iowa. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition in which teams of students select a problem and work to find a solution. The BIS and BHS teams both focused on “Odyssey ReOMvention” – thinking of an environmental threat and coming up with a plan to eliminate it.

“Working with students who participate in Odyssey of the Mind is a totally different experience from teaching the program in the classroom,” said Victoria Salo, Odyssey of the Mind district coordinator and science teacher at BHS. “Students are given a problem and without any outside help, they have to solve the problem while performing a skit on the topic. The coaches can only ask questions, but it’s amazing to see the solutions they come up with and the creativity that emerges from skits, props, costumes and technical devices.

Problems are judged on creativity and risk taking. Students learn how to manage their time and money, share ideas and negotiate with each other, and perform in front of an audience.

Biddeford Intermediate School’s An Odyssey of the Mind teams placed first in Maine and are heading to the World Finals. Team members include left to right: front row, Payton Perrault, Zoe Rosario, Makenzie Dorais, Milan Vire, Anthony Ramunno, Cooper Crockettsecond row: Leah Lambert (standing). Lara Galiardi, Maisie Giddings, Wyatt Harper, Harrison Buchanan and Owen Crockett; and in the back, Marcus Perkins, Thomas Rainey, Harvey Giddings, Ella Ireland, Andre Dallaire, Layla Keddy, Emily Michael, Jackie Dallaire and Eva Aranovitch. Not pictured: Ronan Lunianski, Anja Lunianski and Ethan Pettyjohn; and coaches, Suzanne Tighe (Biddeford High School), Victoria Salo (Biddeford Middle School), Elena Everett (BIS) and Karen Ramunno (BIS). Courtesy picture

BIS coach Karen Ramunno said: “Seeing students think for themselves was so amazing. As a coach, my favorite moments were the “Ah-ha!” moments, when they’ve had an idea that addresses part of the problem they’re trying to solve. Watching these kids collaborate and work as a team at such a young age has been very rewarding.

The Biddeford High School team members are busy preparing for their trip to Iowa and are currently planning fundraisers to help cover expenses they will incur as they progress towards the competition of the world final. “They are determined to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the trip.” Salo said.

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The four team members who will compete in the World Finals are eighth-placed Emily Michael, freshmen Eva Aranovitch and Ella Ireland, and junior Cam Roberge. Aranovitch and Ireland were members of the Biddeford Middle School team that took first place last year in the state-level competition and won the prestigious Ranatra Fusca Award for Outstanding Creativity. Due to COVID restrictions in 2021, the global competition was held virtually rather than in person. The team ranked 25th in the world.

A team from Biddeford Middle School and a second team from Biddeford Intermediate School also competed for Biddeford in the state finals, with both teams securing third place in their respective divisions. To stay up to date with BHS students’ journey to worlds and ways to help support the team, visit their Odyssey of the Mind Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/biddOotM.

Biddeford Intermediate School’s An Odyssey of the Mind teams placed first in Maine and are heading to the World Finals. Team members include left to right: front row, Payton Perrault, Zoe Rosario, Makenzie Dorais, Milan Vire, Anthony Ramunno, Cooper Crockettsecond row: Leah Lambert (standing). Lara Galiardi, Maisie Giddings, Wyatt Harper, Harrison Buchanan and Owen Crockett; and in the back, Marcus Perkins, Thomas Rainey, Harvey Giddings, Ella Ireland, Andre Dallaire, Layla Keddy, Emily Michael, Jackie Dallaire and Eva Aranovitch. Not pictured: Ronan Lunianski, Anja Lunianski and Ethan Pettyjohn; and coaches, Suzanne Tighe (Biddeford High School), Victoria Salo (Biddeford Middle School), Elena Everett (BIS) and Karen Ramunno (BIS).

Biddeford High School’s Odyssey of Mind team, consisting of Emily Michael, Camilla Roberge, Ella Ireland and Eva Aranovitch, placed first in the state competition and is heading to the world competition in Iowa.

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