What is OM?
by Oliver Maul -- Eagle Staff Writer
OM is a club of creativity. OM is short for Odyssey of the Mind, a club that allows students to express their creativity by having to solve a “problem” posed by the national Odyssey of the Mind committee. These problems can vary from theoretical situations to building the strongest platform. Franklin County High School promotes Odyssey of the Mind for its students so they can get a chance at the creativity this club has to offer.
Odyssey of the Mind is in all elementary, middle, and high schools in Franklin County. It helps students get out of their bubbles and make strong friendships through participation in small teams of seven. “If you're quiet and you don't really know how to talk to people, OM helps [with that]," stated sophomore Tamia Gilbert, one of the leaders for the FCHS OM team. Odyssey of the Mind doesn't just help with people coming together; the club can help students earn scholarships as well. This allows students to grow in their creativity and education.
Like any other competition, OM has rules that people must follow and ranks through which teams can advance. “There is regional competition, which is hosted at Franklin County High School,...state competition, which is in Leesburg, Virginia, ...world competition, which is in Utah," Gilbert explained.
In order for the teams to complete their problem in time, they are given a small budget, or sometimes no money at all. Gilbert elaborated, “We don't really start off with a budget… by OM Laws, you have to raise the money [that the group needs]. You can't be given money or anything like that. It has to be raised.”
Fundraisers might not sound that bad until one realizes how little recognition the Odyssey of the Mind club gets, which makes it difficult to raise funds. “Maybe we can do a karaoke party or something. Just to get our name out there and invite more people to learn about OM and see if that's something they want to do,” Gilbert brainstormed.
Odyssey of the Mind is expecting to receive a bit more attention this year. OM Coach Saul Pineda-Torres said, “We have a bigger team and we have people very interested in it.” Try-outs for the club are on Friday, September 8, but with only one coach FCHS can only field one team of seven.
Pineda-Torres went on to describe the challenges and benefits of being an OM coach. “I mean it can be challenging. It gets overwhelming when we start building stuff because I have to put in a lot of paperwork…[but] I do it for the kids. That’s what I care about the most, is [if] they get a good experience out of it.”
Even with the very little attention the club gets, the leaders of OM are excited for a new year and a new team. “I feel like it’s going to be a lot of fun having to just make the team do more….We would be able to accomplish a lot more, compared to last year,” Pineda-Torres expressed. Gilbert added, “If you have a lot of time on your hands and you want to do something, but you want to have fun while doing it - a bonus for you!”
If you have a creative mind, a lot of time, and a love for problem-solving, Odyssey of the Mind is the club for you! If you would like more information on the club, please visit odysseyofthemind.com.