“We had no expectations going in,” said Susan Wallace, one of the Odyssey coaches. “For us, the real prize was getting to go.”
But as it turns out, the Brentwood Elementary teams – the Rubber Bandits and Apple Dumpling Gang – did more than just show up. They placed 15th in a field of 50, and 19th out of 72, respectively.
“The competition was amazing and the kids were phenomenal,” said Wallace of the event held on May 25 through 30. “It’s very clear why everyone is so jazzed about this event. It’s 6,000 kids and 800 teams from the United States and abroad. We were packed into this huge gymnasium – it was like a rock concert.”
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.
The journey for Brentwood’s brainiacs began in March when the Rubber Bandits and Apple Dumpling Gang beat out their local, and then state Odyssey competition.
On April 29, the school’s two state-championship teams competed against community organizations and businesses to help raise funds for their trip in May.
Coming home with such an impressive showing, said Wallace, was just the icing on the cake: “For our kids to make it out of Contra Costa County was huge, and to be involved in all this was also huge. We had a great time.”
The projects for next year’s competition are already in the works. “I heard my kids talking about something involving mouse traps, so it’s clear they’re already committed,” laughed Wallace. “We’ll see what next year brings.”
Brentwood Elementary’s two teams that competed in the world competition include the Apple Dumpling Gang – Casey Schneider, Will McCurdy, Tyler Valadez, Sam Goldman, Jack Mitchener, Emily Gonzalez and Gillian Gash – coached by Bart Schneider, Jessica McCurdy and Michelle Valadez; and the Rubber Bandits – Veronika Wallace, Allyson Russell, Hannah Eelsing, Cole Zanarini, Cody Rohrbacker and Nathan Barsanti – coached by Susan Wallace and Lynelle Russell.
Krey Elementary’s Nature Trail team – Angelo DeJesus, Steven Plate, Jennifer Plate, Kaila Malzahn, Ahmed Alani, Stone Churby and Giovanni Alvarez – coached by Lori and Al Churby, narrowly missed the opportunity to join its cross-town counterpart on the trip to Michigan, placing third at the state competition in March.
For a listing of all the Odyssey world winners, visit www.odysseyofthemind.com.