Deer Creek Middle School competes in Iowa

Deer Creek Middle School students solve Problem No. 3 "Aesop Gone Viral" at 2016 Odyssey of the Mind World competition. Team members include back row from left: Dora Herndon, Josh Tarter, Will Reynolds and Caitlyn Kiehn. Front: Isabel Cardenas Orozco, Shafa Banvani and Nivedita Jayasekar.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last part of a four-part series highlighting each one of the four Edmond area schools who attended Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals competition. Today’s story is about Deer Creek Middle School’s team that chose Problem No. 3 “Aesop Gone Viral.” The first of the four-part series was about Centennial Elementary School’s team that chose Problem No. 2 to solve, “Something Fishy.” July 27 the story was over the Deer Creek Intermediate School’s team and Problem No. 4 “Stack Attack.” July 30 the story featured Centennial Elementary School’s team that chose problem No. 1, “No Cycle Recycle.” 

Seven teams from the Edmond area qualified for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals 2016 at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. Of the seven qualifying teams from Edmond and Deer Creek school districts, four were able to raise money to attend Worlds.

“Teams must raise their own money for travel, accommodations and food. In most cases, props and equipment must be shipped and that is an added cost as well,” said Marci Post, one of the Edmond adult coaches.

Eight hundred teams competed representing 25 countries.

Three teams qualified from Centennial Elementary, one from John Ross Elementary, Sequoyah Middle School, Deer Creek Middle School and Deer Creek Intermediate were eligible to attend Worlds. Ignite Homeschool also had a team selected to go to Worlds.

Deer Creek Middle School team members chose Problem No. 3 “Aesop Gone Viral” to answer.

Team memers include: Dora Herndon, Josh Tarter, Will Reynolds, Caitlyn Kiehn, Isabel Cardenas Orozco, Shafa Banvani and Nivedita Jayasekar.

Problem: This team chose a problem based on the fable of “The Bear and the Two Travelers.” The team was tasked to change the fable by giving it a new moral. The story was set in ancient Rome. The problem required the team to have forgotten a method of communication. To solve the problem the team must also have a musical representation of their story.

“Our team incorporated the use of “emojis” to tell the story instead of using verbal communication,” said eighth-grader Shafa Banvani.

“A team member sang a song to the tune of Adele’s “Hello,” but we used our own words. The audience loved our interpretation.”

Shafa said learning to work in a team helped break complex tasks into smaller parts.

“We were able to work efficiently and we learned that helping to pool the team’s talents helped us to come up with high-performance solutions.”

One of the team’s members, Nivedita Jayasekar, a Deer Creek Middle School eighth-grader, said the hardest part of the their project was completing the backgrounds.

“The two backgrounds were very big and complex,” Nivedita said. “There were a lot of details in our backgrounds.

Nivedita said she was able to share opportunities with her team members she would never have gotten by completing a classroom project.

“By participating in Odyssey of the Mind, I had the experiences of doing something new with a team and meeting new people from all over the world,” Nivedita said.

She added that working as a team opened her mind to the way other people think.

“By working as a team, I learned that not everyone has the same thought process,” Nivedita said. “So, no one gets exactly what they want because everyone has to give their input on the project.”

This was Nivedita’s first time to work with Odyssey of the Mind.

Kathy Herndon was the team’s coach.

A native Oklahoman, retired school teacher Patty Miller taught journalism and English for 30 years before beginning her second career as a reporter for The Edmond Sun in 2000. She is a previous winner of the OPA's Beachy Musselman Award.

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