Game On!

Evergreen Odyssey of the mind team going to World Finals

By Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar—Seven Evergreen Elementary students combined creativity and STEM skills to solve challenges that have put them in a class of their own.

The school’s Odyssey of the Mind team won a regional contest in February, then swept the state championship at UC Riverside in April, securing a spot in the World Finals.

Members clinched the state title during the “Stack Attack” event by designing and building a 15-gram structure made of balsa wood and glue that held over 800 pounds.

“It’s an amazing achievement, and an incredible opportunity for these creative thinkers and problem solvers!  Congratulations, Evergreen Odyssey of the Mind team, it’s GAME ON!” said

Principal Carolyn Wills.

Third and fifth-grade-team members Ianna Lin, Annie Chen, Alexander Kuo, Alex Teng, Carrie Chen, William Qian, and Alexander Dollar are now preparing to be part of an exciting global competition to be held at Iowa State University on May 25-28.

The close-knit team wrote the script, designed costumes, decorated a backdrop, and learned how to use tools for the contest.

“We worked together, and learned to listen and to respect each other,” said 5th grader Alexander Dollar.

In addition, the team prepared for a spontaneous problem given during the challenge.

During every team meeting, students diligently practiced solving possible problems.

“It helped us learn to work as a team, to be leaders, and to make decisions under pressure,” added teammate Alexander Kuo.

The team won the top awards in Style, Long-term, and Spontaneous events during the state championship.

Odyssey of the Mind utilizes a hands-on approach to building skills, creativity, perseverance, and teamwork.

The Evergreen team is headed up by parent coaches Sam and Jean Lin, and Natasha Dollar, and everyone is excited to represent the community during the world championship.

“It’s something the youngsters have worked for all year long,” according to parent Jean Lin.

“We really appreciate Evergreen’s STEM program that provides students with many opportunities,” she added.

“Today our children built a structure that held 800 lbs., tomorrow they’ll be holding the world!

The team is looking to raise $7,000 and has set up a Go Fund Me account. To find out more information, visit