April 3, 2016, HONG KONG - The Harbour School (THS) won two prestigious awards at the annual Hong Kong Odyssey of the Mind (OM) competition held on 2 and 3 April, 2016 at the Hong Kong Design Institute, against a very strong field of 63 teams from international and local schools.
THS’s Division 2 team consisting of seven students from the Middle School scored the most points to pick up the Creativity award and came in first runner-up in the long problem solving category, going on to represent Hong Kong in the 37th OM world finals held in Iowa State University next month.
Dr. Jadis Blurton, Head of School, said, “The Odyssey of the Mind competition
encompasses some of the most vital aspects of 21st Century learning: innovation, creativity, teamwork and problem-solving. We are thrilled to be among the teams chosen to go to the U.S. for the world finals.”
Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is a creative problem-solving competition where teams of five to seven students compete to design and implement an original solution to a challenging problem that requires each team to demonstrate a combination of creativity, collaboration, brainstorming, interdependence and respect for individual strengths.
There are separate divisions of competition for students from kindergarten through college. THS participated in Division 1 for the past three years. In the 2015 OM competition in Hong Kong, the school scooped up a prize in the spontaneous problem-solving category last year and came in second runner-up overall. This year, THS fielded two teams , one each for Division 1 and 2.
Coached by sixth-grade teacher Callie Meserole and learning extension coordinator Dr Amoy Hugh-Pennie as well as THS parent Tony Mitchell, the two OM teams began meeting once a week from mid-January to brainstorm their performance.
“As a coach beginning this journey in January, I, admittedly, was skeptical the kids could or would complete the long-term problem. There was so much to do and we were late out of the gate - from learning to work as a cohesive unit, to writing their own play, to designing and creating sets and costumes - the tasks at hand were no small feat. But the team flourished; they produced an outstanding solution to a difficult problem,” said Ms Meserole, a former OM participant herself.
The students had to do everything themselves from scratch, starting with researching and picking an Aesop fable, writing the entire script while incorporating various elements of communication to give the skit a “viral” quality, to designing, making and constructing their costumes, props and backdrop.
“I continue to be impressed by the creativity, ingenuity, and passion the students demonstrate. Even now that we have qualified for World Finals, the students are still asking "how can we improve?", "what can we do to make it better?" They refuse to settle for just 'good enough,' and they are nothing short of exceptional,” she said.
OM teams have to stay within OM’s strict competition rules and budget constraints as well as solve practical issues such as designing props and costumes which are collapsible and portable for easy transportation.
Grade 8 student Brandon Wong and third time OM participant said, “I enjoy OM as it allows us students to be very creative and the topics are unusual.”
Another team member, Sam Mitchell in Grade 6 said, “I feel very happy because this is my fourth year doing this and I have not been to the world finals yet.”
THS’s team of six students and two coaches will leave for Iowa on May 23, 2016 to compete against more than 800 teams from all over the world.
About The Harbour School
The Harbour School is an international school that aims to unlock the best in every student by taking a highly individual approach to teaching. It has small class sizes with a 7:1 in-class student to teacher ratio. The school was founded in 2007 and is already gaining a worldwide reputation as a centre of excellence. It follows a US curriculum with an emphasis on workplace-relevant, 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, creativity and innovation.
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