Odyssey Team Wins State Title

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Aly Fosbury, Staff Writer

An Odyssey of the Mind team comprised of Campolindo students won the state championships in Brentwood on April 5 and will compete in the world championships in Iowa from May 28-May 31.

Odyssey of the Mind is open to kids from kindergarten through college, and allows them to exercise the creative part of their brain to solve various “problems.” According to the California Odyssey of the Mind website, the competition combines both theatrical and problem solving skills. Participants create their own script, props, and any technical elements, and use teamwork to create “out of the box” solutions.

“There is a long term problem and we answer that with a skit and it has to be creative and outside the box,” team member Claire Matranga said.

Senior Omid Boozarpour coached and facilitated the winning team’s preparations. “They did really well. They took first in the regional competition and then they also took first in the state competition and now they are heading to world,” he said.

The team’s long term challenge is the Not-So-Haunted House, which has to include a “pop-up-style” house that can produce four special effects.

The world championships brings together hundreds of teams tasked with solving a new problem. “In the whole tournament there’s over 800 teams,” Navid Boozarpour said. The teams come from all over the world.

Freshman Claire Matranga is new to the team and enjoys the opportunity to be creative with her problem solving. “It’s fun and it lets you express a different part of your brain,” she said.

As a mother of two Odyssey of the Mind members, freshman Navid and senior Omid, Diana Boozarpour considers it an important addition to traditional academic studies. “Odyssey of the Mind is unique in that it provided participants the opportunity to create and be creative. Allowing kids to be creative opens up their minds and further supports discovery in other areas,” she said.

“It’s more of a self-discovery type program. Of course, the kids learn and build on what they’ve done in the past years. I feel this is really the best way to build problem solving and team building skills,” Diana Boozarpour added.

The Moraga Rotary Club sponsors Campolindo’s Odyssey of the Mind team as well as 10 other teams. “Our sponsorship is financial in that we pay for the 11 Odyssey teams’ registration fees, T-shirts, plus we provide materials, labor and shipping costs to ship the winning team’s props to Michigan for the World Competition that at least one Moraga team always attends,” Moraga Rotary Club’s New Generations Chairman Rich Render said.

While the team is focused on the world championships, Omid Boozarpour is also excited about the future of the program in Moraga. “I think that there’s a lot of people coming up from the middle schools that will be doing it later hopefully and we can probably recruit some more people,” he said.

“It focuses on not only intelligence and knowledge like in regular school, but it’s also creativity and getting new ideas which is really important for innovations in society,” Navid Boozarpour said.