Five teams from the Blytheville School District participated at the state competition. From these, Central Elementary School will advance to the World Finals next month. The top two teams in each division qualified for the world event. Blytheville had one first-place win, two fourth-place finishes, one fifth place and one 10th.
The OM World Finals will be May 22-26 on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.
"We all had a great Odyssey of the Mind experience in Beebe, and now we're excited to be going on to a great world competition in Michigan," said Diane Hay, Blytheville's gifted and talented director, which includes OM. "Our schools are very fortunate to have so much community support from individuals who serve as coaches and judges, and I'm fortunate to have such loyal judges each year."
The Central team, coached by Curtis Walker, finished first in the Division I "Tumble-Wood" Structure. Members of that team are Trequwan Hooper, Bailee McCustion, Kate Hale, Elise Harris, Tatianna Harris, Grant Langston and Dylan Buckner.
A second Central team this year, "It's How You Look At It," coached by Toyia Taylor, finished 10th. Hay said this was Taylor's first year as a competing coach. Her team members are Rushanti Taylor, Jeffery Cable, Brandon Gascoigne, Kenniya Thomas, Shakeyiah Fountain, Rushawn Taylor and Kylan Rogers.
The BHS team, coached by Russell Page and Erika Easley, placed fifth in the Division III "It's How You Look At It." Team members are Lauren Jenkins, Megan Jenkins, Madison Groves, Katie Beth Pankey, Esbian Williams, Zac Mosley and Dawn Anderson.
The Intermediate School team coached by Charlee Predmore and LaRay Cloud took fourth place in Division II "Tumble-Wood" Structure. Team members included Bo Hale, Braidon Smith, Kensie Ray, Afrika Wells, Terika Dillard, Garrett Cloud and Jackson Howard.
Blytheville Intermediate School had two teams compete this year. The second Intermediate team also took fourth in its division. Its problem was "ARTchitecture, The Musical." The team was coached by Sarah Henricks. Team members included Julia Bullard, Maddie Hixson, Lizzy Langston, Zac White, Shakiah Williams and Lauren Cable. First- and second-place recipients advanced to the World Finals.
Blytheville was fortunate to have a special award this year for one of the team members on the Central Elementary "ARTchitecture: The Musical" team. Kylan Rogers received an "Omer Award" for his outstanding performance of song in their skit. He was noted for his "pitch-perfect voice" and "stage presence."
"This is a very special award that isn't handed out to just anyone," Hay said. "We are very excited to have Kylan represent Blytheville Schools so well."
"In order to make the regional and state competitions a success, it is necessary to have volunteers serve as judges from each membership," continued Hay. "This year we were required to provide six judges/volunteers for the competition, and our school usually sends more than the required amount of volunteers. Local citizens who judged at the state event were Paige Hawks, Lou Riggs, Shannon Page, Sandra Jackson, Daniel Harris, Eddie Hobbs and Andrea Jackson.
"I will say that the teams from Blytheville have always shown the best manners during the competitions," Hay said. "We usually take the students to eat at a local restaurant on the way home from the competitions, and they never cease to amaze me with their politeness and appreciation for what we do for them. I enjoy all the 'thank you, Mrs. Hay's' I get from my students for whatever we do for them. These kids really appreciate these opportunities."
The Odyssey of the Mind Boosters express their appreciation to everyone who helped to make the state competition a big success by volunteering their time and efforts to our organization.
"We are always in need of volunteers as coaches and judges each year," sHay said. "Our program heavily depends on volunteers to work with these great kids, and training is available for those who are interested."
Hay said the school is taking donations for its World Finals Booster Club. Donations may be sent to Diane Hay at Blytheville Middle School, 700 W. Chickasawba, Blytheville, AR 72315. All donations are tax-deductible. Appreciation is also expressed to GCA Services Group for its donation to help Central's team get to the World Finals.
"Please consider helping us help our kids realize their dreams of competing on such a grand level against many other teams from all over the world," Hay said.