Renaissance Academy students compete at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition

What’s happening: Renaissance Public School Academy students recently competed at the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Six students from the school traveled to Lansing last weekend, where over 800 teams from around the world gathered to showcase their creative problem-solving skills. 

How it happened: Parent volunteer and coach, Delphine Rossignol, says each year Odyssey of the Mind teams are all assigned a problem to solve; then, they are required to put together a performance that showcases their solution to the problem. 

Since last October, Zoey Kregel (6th grade), Harley Davis (6th grade), Jayden Lee (6th grade), Quentin Rossignol (6th grade), William Weinstock (7th grade), and Yame Osakue (8th grade) met every week to work on solving their assigned problem of putting weight on a balsa wood structure they created. They then wrote and practiced a dramatic performance to present their solution to judges in regional and state competitions.

(Photo courtesy of Delphine Rossignol)After qualifying at the state competition in March, Rossignol says she and the other parent volunteers/coaches were surprised to learn about a $3,000 registration fee required for teams to participate at the World Finals. But after just two-and-a-half days, a GoFundMe page set up by the team had raised the needed money—thanks to generous donations from family members, friends, community members, and even past Odyssey of the Mind participants.
What they’re saying: “I think it's just very nice and cool that people helped us get there,” says team member Quentin Rossignol, adding that he and his sister also hosted a lemonade stand to help raise money. He says another teammate collected bottles to return.

Why it’s important: “My opinion is they learn how to work together,” says parent volunteer and coach, Delphine Rossignol, on why she values the overall Odyssey of the Mind experience.

“My team I think is a little phenomenal for this. They never really argued. Everybody was allowed to voice their ideas and they would try it, or they would say it's not going to work. But they were always really respectful towards each other and always listening to their ideas and bring what they thought would be the best ‘til the end.”

Rossignol also says that meeting students from all over the world was a great experience for her team.

Six students from Renaissance Public School Academy compete at the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Delphine Rossignol)Quentin Rossignol adds that attending the competition “was amazing! I think we really worked hard for it, and it was just great because there were so many fun activities to do.”

Some of those activities included in the four-day event were spontaneous problem-solving competitions, as well as a float and banner parade, a creativity festival, international festival, and a big awards ceremony. The weekend concluded with celebration parties for various age groups. 

Six students from Renaissance Public School Academy compete at the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Delphine Rossignol)About the program: Odyssey of the Mind is the world's oldest international creative problem-solving competition for students. The program’s goal is to promote creativity and problem-solving through activities like building mechanical devices or wood structures. Teams also learn about dramatic presentations and technical performances. The overall program also aims to develop team building and organization skills in a supportive environment where team members can develop positive values, self-esteem, and social competencies. At the annual World Finals competition, teams from around the United States and around the world present their solutions to the problem assigned to them at the beginning of the year. 

Learn more: Renaissance Public School Academy is a charter school in Mt. Pleasant that focuses on project based learning experiences. According to their website, Renaissance staff are committed to using “strategies that will foster creativity and encourage students to think critically.”
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Read more articles by Sarah R. Adams-Slominski.

Sarah R. Adams-Slominski is an award-winning multimedia producer and writer with over 20 years of experience. She has also designed and taught multimedia and communication courses for university students, as well as media relations and marketing seminars for clients she coaches across the United States. In 2020, she began work on a doctorate and is now concentrating on dissertation research in educational technology and new literacies while working as a freelance writer, editor, and adjunct college instructor. When she has some downtime, Sarah loves reading, cooking, and swimming—as well as hanging out with friends, family, and her fiancé at home with two giant cats.