Both elementary teams competed through the district’s Learning Activities to Raise Creativity program, under the guidance of LARC teachers Beverlee Bertinetti and Caitlin Fuentes. The elementary school team of Maya Arengo, Uma Arengo, Charlie Ashmead, Samantha Breen, Tyler Colinson, Ali Kile and Lucia Tomicick were victorious in the problem titled “The Not-So-Haunted House.” Their problem was to create and present an original performance that included a pop-up-style house where four special effects take place. The effects were scored on originality and engineering.
The elementary school team of Maryn Ascher, Vann Ceniceros, Giselle Fernandez, Sarah Gusler, Maia Perez, Julianne Robinson and Jillian Sondike earned a first-place finish for their work on a problem titled “It’s How We Rule,” for which they had to recreate a king’s court from history and make their own original court set in a team-created kingdom. They were scored on historical accuracy and originality.
The LARC teams and coaches were also given an OMer award, in recognition of their resilience, hard work, dedication, and continued commitment while dealing with the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Although LARC students missed last year’s OM competition because of the storm, they did not give up. Instead they put their creative energies into helping their community through the Odyssey of the Mind Odyssey Angels program.
Two Long Beach Middle School teams competed under the guidance of faculty coaches Alyssa Mazurek and Lorraine Pross. The team of Thomas Corso, Talia Fernandez, Jack Libasci, Grace Power, Erik Roll, Victoria Strickland and Aidan White also finished first in “It’s How We Rule.”
After losing four of their team members, the middle school team of Matthew Amato, Layla Hakimzadeh and Elizabeth Kelly had to start from scratch in January, working on “The Not-So-Haunted House.” Their fortitude earned them the OMer award in recognition of their perseverance, hard work and creativity in the face of adversity.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides students with opportunities to apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and approximately 25 countries abroad participate in the program. The Long Beach students who participate in OM say that it teaches them to think outside of the box, be creative, practice teamwork, overcome fears and get along with others. They say they must also be committed to working countless hours, brainstorming, writing and practicing their scripts, and creating props and costumes to prepare for competition.