OM1Embodying the Mount Vernon mission, a group of seventh graders recently participated in and placed first in their region in the world’s largest creative problem-solving competition — Odyssey of the Mind — an international creative program where knowledge and ideas come to life.

Led by Coach Leslie Langley, Michael Lotz, Mason Dove, Rediet Yonus, Diego Ruiz, Spencer Corley and Jackson Langley initially competed in the Odyssey of the Mind regional tournament at Parkview High School. They took on the vehicle challenge, requiring them to build and run three vehicles which perform certain tasks all while performing a skit with specific elements in under eight minutes.

In addition to placing first in the competition, they were recognized with the highest honor award, the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award, which is granted to teams that have demonstrated exceptional creativity, the essence of the OM program. Theirs was the only Ranatra award given out in any of the regional Georgia tournaments, in a pool of over 200 competing teams.

Their region win qualified the boys for the State tournament in Columbus, Georgia, where again, they placed first.

IMG_4115With a region win, followed by first place at State, the next stop for this globally competitive team is the World Finals in East Lansing, Michigan. Over 825 teams from around the world will compete in the 38th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Michigan State University from May 24 – 27. The competition, which emphasizes creativity and teamwork, has grown into the largest international creative problem-solving competition worldwide.

The boys are honored and excited to represent Mount Vernon, the state of Georgia, and their namesake – Grace for All – a mission in Ethiopia, which is run by team member Rediet’s father.

Coach Langley proudly shares, “They were simply amazing. Overcoming adversity (a sick team member, roles changing at the last minute), facing challenges (a vehicle which didn’t work and points had to be made up in another part of the competition) all with determination in the hearts and smiles on their faces. I feel so blessed to be part of the MVPS community. I can’t imagine my boys being anywhere else. Thank you for all you are doing for our incredible students!”

Carla Corley, Spencer’s mom adds, “These boys rocked it and Leslie was a huge part of it with her amazing coaching! Odyssey of the Mind is so Mount Vernon. Spencer was late to join the team and was probably able to jump right in because so much of what OM is about, is what MV is about — specifically the mindsets. Their teamwork was amazing and they were complimented on that during one specific part of the competition when one member made an error. Those boys just overcame adversity, never blaming anyone, and did it better the second time around. The judges were amazed. You all are doing some great stuff at school and you can tell that the skills learned there have helped them tremendously in this competition. Coach Langley gets a ton of credit, too, for all her time and energy coaching these kids!”

To bring awareness to the Ethiopian mission, the boys each collected and donated shoes for the children in Ethiopia. 25 pairs, total.   

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