Manhattan Beach schools place first and second in Odyssey World Finals
by Nadia Bidarian
In last year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, a team of seven Pacific Elementary School fourth graders placed 10th out of 119 teams. This year, all four Manhattan Beach teams placed either first or second in the world. In fact, more than half of California’s podium winners came from Manhattan Beach. The only city to top Manhattan Beach’s medal count was Shanghai, China’s most populous city.
One team came from Mira Costa High School, one from Manhattan Beach Middle School, and two from Pacific Elementary School.
In Odyssey of the Mind, students combine problem-solving and theater skills that they develop through weeks of practice. All 828 teams competing this year were assigned a tasks to complete in front of judges, including building wooden structures (“It’s a Trap!!!”), and creating a 15 minute superhero skit (“Superhero Socks: A Cliffhanger Beginning”).
“Odyssey helps develop confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills,” Brian Fan, a parent and the coach of both the middle school and high school teams, said. “I have had several members go from being shy and quiet to singing, acting, and rapping in front of a crowd. Odyssey inspires them to take a risk and put themselves out there.”
“There are a plethora of other skills, including writing, teamwork, STEM, public speaking, and project planning that students develop throughout the season,” Fan said. “One of the things I like most about Odyssey is that it empowers students to solve their own problems. Seeing kids say, ‘Yeah, we can do it’ is just such a powerful thing.” ER
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