PENNSBURY >> The Pennsbury High School Odyssey of the Mind team earned a third-place finish in the 2020 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held virtually for the first time in the problem-solving competition's history.
The team of Kartik Kannan (12th), Robert Oleynick (12th), Emma Desrosiers (11th), Rowan Levanthal (11th), Henry Lane (10th), Phillip Santos (10th), and Ansh Shah (10th) successfully placed as one of the top teams in the world in Problem 2, Division 3, entitled “Net Working.”
This is the first time a Pennsbury High School team has brought home a trophy from the World Finals in the Pennsbury Odyssey of the Mind Association’s (POMA) 36 year history of participation.
The PHS team, which did not compete at the regional and state competitions, formed in early April when it was announced that this year’s World Finals was open to ALL teams online. Unable to meet in person due to the current stay-at-home guidelines, the team met virtually to create a humorous, creative and technical skit that centered around the use of three different devices to transport messages.
The team said they were inspired by not only their many wonderful Pennsbury educators, but also by the current pandemic to create a performance centered around the human body. Their skit combined art, music, and drama with physics, biology, and programming, all while using recycled materials and creative engineering.
Pennsbury fielded 18 OM teams this year from across the School District. These teams competed in the southeast regional competition on Feb. 29. Eleven of the Pennsbury teams came in 1st or 2nd place and were to advance to states, which got cancelled. Four of those teams decided to proceed with submitting for the virtual Worlds competition, which involved presenting an online video of their performance and explanations of what they put together, write-ups of their performance, and competing in a virtual spontaneous session, all while adhering to necessary social distancing guidelines.
The PHS team was a bit different since they thought they would not get to compete due to other commitments established earlier in the year, but then were able to do so when everything else got cancelled.
Results from Worlds:
PHS - 3rd place. Only the top 6 teams were announced at the awards ceremony.
Pennwood Middle - 5th in their judged group; Top 12
Quarry Hill Elementary - 6th in their judged group; Top 12
Fallsington Elementary - 21st in their judged group
William Penn Middle - 11th in their judged group
Overall, there were 835 OM teams from across the world that competed in this first-ever virtual event for Odyssey of the Mind.