West Ashley Middle School wins Odyssey of the Mind

West Ashley Middle School wins Odyssey of the Mind
April 25 18:50 2018 Print This Article

The West Ashley Advanced Studies Magnet School (ASM) won its second consecutive state title in the Odyssey of the Mind competition in the spring and will complete in the World Finals competition May 23-26 in Ames, Iowa. The school is a neighborhood middle school with a magnet program within and is available to all West Ashley students.  The competition focuses on team problem-solving, skits, and structural design.

The ASM team, coached by teachers Michael Marisco and Jeff Beauchamp, started auditioning students before Christmas break. Of the original 25 students who auditioned, seven were selected. The all-6th grade squad included Indya Capers, Ava Grafton, Maya Story, Ja’Mya Ruth, Kallie Klugman, Joel Gagnes, and Richard Perez Cruz.

Marisco said the competition brings out the best in the participants. It develops team-building, leadership and creativity. “Students who started out the process as shy really blossomed,” Marisco said. “Our students learned from each other, pushed each other, and rose to the occasion!” One of the problems the team worked on was a “mockumentary”, in which students wrote and performed a skit from Alice In Wonderland taken from the perspectives of Alice and the Queen of Hearts, using contemporary language. The students also designed costumes and stage props.

The World Finals competition will be held at the Iowa State University basketball arena. It will involve more than 800 teams from all over the world and includes an Olympic-style Opening Ceremony. In addition to the competition, students will participate in a fun-filled Creativity Festival and a variety of NASA-sponsored activities. They will exchange state flag pins with students from other states and countries. “This competition helps students learn to deal with stressful situations, develop social skills, and engage in team-building,” Marisco said. These are soft skills employers are looking for. The ASM team will get some of its travel and lodging expenses from an Odyssey of the Mind trust fund and will do fund-raising events for the balance of the expenses. For many, the Iowa flight will be their first plane trip.

Pictured (L-R): Jeff Beauchamp (coach), Indya Capers, Ava Grafton, Maya Story, Ja’Mya Ruth, Kallie Klugman, Joel Ganges, Michael Marisco (coach), and (foreground) Richard Perez Cruz.

Picture courtesy of the Charleston County School District.