Odyssey of the Mind: Sayreville Takes on States

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Odyssey of the Mind: Sayreville Takes on States

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Rehat Singh, Editor-in-Chief

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Odyssey of the Mind – a club that has been around for nearly two decades in Sayreville and holds a prestigious record within Sayreville War Memorial High School – has hit its season of competition. With Edison being its main rival, Team 4, the only team to make it to states, is preparing hard to snag another win.

Late March: five teams in total tackled Regionals, at which all schools across the county were brought in for the chance to compete head-to-head – with our own Sayreville War Memorial High School taking up the duty as the host to the competition. However, Sayreville found a rival in Edison High School – a school highly renowned for building extremely advanced projects, making Sayreville’s position difficult.

Katie Martino, grade 11 and part of Team 4, was shocked and was overwhelmed with happiness. “I didn’t think we would make it. When no one else won, I was also shocked. Last year almost all teams won, so it was surprising.”

Indeed, last year, 4 out of the 5 teams went to states, while 1 team even went on to worlds, where teams from all over the world – Japan, Australia and China – come to meet.

Danielle Antoine replied that she had a similar reaction. “I was very happy and very excited, but I was also a little sad as well. Not everyone won, which made me upset because we all worked so hard. It’s disappointing when you don’t get the credit you deserve, especially with all the sacrifices that you have to make.”

OM, a club that allows creativity to flourish with an assigned problem, can be a life-changing experience. However, weeks before the competition, the process can be grueling. Staying after school late into the night, and ordering in pizza almost every night signifies that this is what OM is all about: that one competition in March which can be a moment of truth for the team.

What exactly happens at such competitions however? For one, it depends on the problem that is assigned to you. Each problem is fundamentally different. One of them is an engineering problem, while another specifically involves a lot of acting. When the competition rolls around, that’s when the teams perform these problems in front of judges, most of which are former OM veterans who are now in college. Once a team gets through regionals, they are free to change any aspect of their problem as they wish when going on to the next round, which is states.

“Almost everything changed,” replied Danielle, “And we feel very hopeful that maybe we can make it to Worlds.”

Katie held the same observation. “We’re changing everything; the set, the costumes, the characters, everything.”

Mrs. McCabe, the enthusiastic adviser for OM, said that the whole thing was “bittersweet” for her. With a hearty laugh, she begins, “I was not expecting only one team to win at all. I was expecting more teams to go. Because the other teams are done, I’ll especially miss my seniors.”

When asked how upcoming kids who would like to join OM should prepare, she encourages them to come see her in September. “There is an interview process, so start looking for materials that they can use in other ways other than their original purpose. You need to be able to think on your feet and outside the box.”

However, with September remaining a blip on the future horizon,  the team representing Sayreville is focusing on the present – making their way towards the next round this April.