By Judy Reed
A first-year Odyssey of the Mind team at Cedar View Elementary did something this year that is rarely seen—they finished second at regionals, then went on to take third place at state.
Team members Ethan Griffee, Hannah Anderson, Nate Slager, Ella Buttermore, Riley Robb, and Judy Visser were coached by Tanja Griffee and Aaron Anderson. Regionals were held February 27 at Greenville Middle School, where they placed second and earned a silver medal. The state finals were held March 19, at Thornapple Kellogg Schools in Middleville, where they placed third, and received a bronze medal.
The problem they competed in was called, “No-Cycle Recycle.” They had to build a car and perform a skit involving recycling and repurposing trash items.
“They are an amazing group of kids,” said Coach Griffee. “They worked hard and did great as a team. I am extremely proud of them for their accomplishments!”
Regional Director Linda Blackmore, of Cedar Springs, was surprised at the progress the group made for being a first year team of fourth and fifth graders.
“The program is overwhelming, and so I usually tell the coaches to have two goals: survive and have fun,” explained Blackmore. “They just need to get through it the first time, to learn the ropes. But then they went on to state. That hardly ever happens. It’s an accomplishment against the best of the best at state finals—to not only be there, but to place as well. It’s only happened maybe once in the 20 years I’ve been doing this,” she said.
Blackmore said that she’s hoping to get more teams from Cedar Springs involved in Odyssey of the Mind. Teams can be created at any grade level, from grades K-12, and grade levels can have more than one team, as Cedar View did this year. If anyone is interested in getting involved, contact your building principal, or contact Blackmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.