Japan comes to Delaware

A dozen Japanese students, 11 boys and one girl, traveled all the way from Toyota City, Japan to Selbyville, Delaware, where they visited Southern Delaware School of the Arts (SDSA).

The students’ two-day visit to the First State included a stop at SDSA June 1, as well as a barbecue. Last week’s visit follows the International Odyssey of the Mind program, sponsored by a district Odyssey of the Mind team coached by Catina Goff and teacher Lisa Forney. It was one of five district teams to compete at the OM World Finals in College Park, MD, May 27-30. It was also one of three teams from the district to capture a state championship at the Delaware OM competition in April.

While competing at the World Finals, Forney says the American and Japanese students stayed in the same dorm, shared meals and rooted each other on at their respective performances.

Odyssey of the Mind was founded in 1979. Forney says the competition encourages students to find solutions to open-ended problems like building a balsa wood structure that meets certain weight and construction stipulations. Each year, five new competitive problems are presented and teams spend months working toward solutions.

In addition to winning a state title in the “Full Circle” category for Division II, the Goff/Forney team earned a perfect score of 350 at the state competition. The team earned an eighth-place finish at the World Finals, becoming the sixth district team in eight years to earn a Top 10 world placement.

Team members were Kierstin Blatzheim, Ana Natalia Elling, Cameron Goff, Matthew Lyons, Madison McCabe, Matthew Parsons and Rachael Wiedman.

Millions of students from kindergarten through the collegiate level have participated in Odyssey of the Mind since its inception.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal