The Ridgefield Library high school division Odyssey of the Mind Team won first place in its age division and problem category at the Connecticut State Tournament in New Haven on March 19th, qualifying them for the World Finals. The team, – Anahit Abernethy, Eva Figlar, Mridhula Praveen, Pranati Sathyagal, and Hanna Zhao – also won their division’s Jill Riggles Award for displaying the highest creativity and excellence in spontaneous problem-solving. The World Finals, which takes place this year from May 25-28 at Iowa State University in Ames, has in the past brought together hundreds of winning teams from nearly every US state and up to 30 countries around the world to compete in what is often described as the “Olympics of Creativity”.

The Odyssey of the Mind program in town has been sponsored by the Ridgefield Library since 2014. It is a global creative problem-solving competition where teams of 5-7 members vie against each other to present solutions to problems in the most creative way possible. There are five types of problems common to all divisions – vehicle building, technical device construction, recreating classics, balsa wood structure building, and humorous performance categories – making it an engaging STEAM activity for students of all ages. Teams use their talents and out-of-the-box thinking to develop solutions and present them creatively, without any adult help. There is also a spontaneous problem-solving segment at the Tournament where the team gets 5-8 minutes to creatively respond to verbal, verbal hands-on, and hands-on challenges on the spot. In Connecticut, the top two teams of each division and problem category at the state level are invited to participate in the World Finals every year.

The team looks forward to showcasing its talent on a global stage. Residents can support their journey by donating to their GoFundMe campaign. The fundraiser will help cover their costs of transport of performance materials and other travel and housing expenses. This team is the first high school division team from Ridgefield to advance to the World Finals in the town’s eight-year Odyssey history.  On Saturday, May 14th, the team will hold a bake sale in front of the stone wall adjacent to the Library property along Main Street.

Visit ctom.org or odysseyofthemind.com to learn more about the program. Email [email protected] for more details on participation or volunteering.