Two teams of students from the West Suburban Montessori School’s elementary program earned trophies at the Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament in Lake Bluff, IL on March 11th

The teams began preparing for the creative problem-solving competition in October. Each group chose one long-term problem that had been developed by Odyssey of the Mind to encourage the students to think creatively while building vital teamwork skills.

The team that chose the problem entitled “Catch Us If You Can” was challenged to design and build three self-propelled vehicles that could travel from a team-built parking garage to a secret meeting place. To present their solution, they were required to write and perform a skit, featuring the reason for their meeting and someone who was trying to prevent the meeting. The team placed 2nd in their problem for their age-level division. Members of the “Catch Us If You Can” team were Aja Cowell, Charlotte Benson, Gio Rangel, Isaiah Authement, Peter Debush, and Rachel Santilli. The team was coached by Emily Meingast, WSMS elementary directress.

The team that chose the problem entitled “It’s Time, OMER” was challenged to create reproductions of two famous artworks and their own, team-created painting. They presented their solution in a skit that featured time travelers discovering that each of the paintings had been inspired by Omer, the Odyssey of the Mind mascot. The team placed 1st in their problem for their age-level division. Members of the “It’s Time, OMER” team were Benji Devroye, Charlie Swift, Cora Rosenfeld, Jenna Eggerding, and Matthew Gill. The team was coached by Emily Prather-Rodgers, WSMS administrative assistant.

At the tournament, the teams were also required to respond to a spontaneous problem to challenge their improvisational skills. The subject of that problem remains top secret so that it may be used at other regional competitions.

Since 1988, West Suburban Montessori School has been providing quality Montessori education in Oak Park with the mission of igniting a lifelong curiosity for learning. WSMS enrolls children aged three to twelve and is accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Learn more at

The Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program whose mission is to provide creative problem-solving program opportunities for students from kindergarten through college in the United States and over 20 other countries. Learn more at

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