BAKER — For the first time in six years, Baker School has three teams going to the Odyssey of the Mind state competition.
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program that introduces students to a variety of science, math and arts subjects.
“It covers all forms of learning, from problem solving to mechanical engineering to theatrical skits,” said Fiona Lukas, one of Baker’s team leaders.
While Baker has three teams making the April 6 trip to Orlando, only two are competing.
“The primary (elementary) school team will just be there to experience it,” said Lukas. “It will get them involved so they know what they will be doing if they continue in Odyssey of the Mind.”
The two high school and middle school teams total 11 students, along with five students on the primary team.
Baker has been involved in Odyssey of the Mind for over 30 years. This is the first trip to the state competition since 2013, when they went all the way to the Worlds competition.
Lukas said there are several reasons why the school is involved in the competition.
“With teams we had previously, the competition was a prime factor in them going to theatrical colleges,” she said. “A lot of kids come in (to the program) very timid and the experience helps them come out of their shell.”
Odyssey of the Minda introduces students to a variety of subjects and careers that they might not normally consider, according to Lukas.
“There are lots of possibilities open to them,” she said. “We had one student, in particular, who went on to Florida State University and became the chief editor of their paper.”
Lukas said it doesn’t take long to find out what the kids are good at.
“Just looking at the kids perform, you can tell who they are,” she said. “You can see who the organizers are, who are the problem solvers, and who are the engineers.”
The competition will be held in Orlando on April 6. The team is looking for donations to help with the travel funds.
“We are looking for sponsors to help us get there, and to Worlds if we qualify,” said Lukas.
She added the competition is important for the students.
“It is a way kids are able to explore different mediums,” said Lukas. “It’s a really good opportunity.”
Those interested in donating to the teams' trips may email LukasF@okaloosaschools.com.