Reagan Middle Students Shine at Odyssey of the Mind

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Odyssey of the Mind State Champions from Ronald Reagan Middle School

A Ronald Reagan Middle School (RRMS) team wowed the crowds and judges at this year’s Virginia Odyssey of the Mind state finals, earning the championship title in the Middle School Division (2), and launching them to the world finals in Iowa this May.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving competition for students spanning the ages of kindergarten through college. Teams consisting of up to seven members work together to solve a complex and unique problem by conceiving and making their own devices, props, costumes, characters, and stories as part of a team-created problem solution. After months of preparation, teams present to an audience and a panel of judges a theatrical performance demonstrating their long-term problem solution. Teams are challenged to think outside the box, test theories and solve problems, all while working together as a team, and without adult/parent assistance.

The RRMS team garnered regional and state accolades for their impressive solution to the Long-Term Problem titled “Mockumentary…Seriously!” Featuring lively characters and elaborate costumes, props, and devices of their own creation, team members presented a hilarious and highly-engaging mockumentary that reinterpreted the classic 16th century Chinese novel, Journey to the West. The team received the highest scores among middle school teams for their Long-Term and Spontaneous problem solutions.

Reagan's Odyssey of the Mind Team in costumeTeam members include: Anya Mischel, Maria Chica, Mayna Malhotra, Michael Machosky, Naomi Heilen, Sophia Heilen, and Umi Komine. The team is coached by Dr. Michael Heilen, an archaeologist who directs the Center for the Study of Cultural Landscapes for Statistical Research, Inc.

“Problems are designed so that there is no single solution. There are many possible solutions,” Dr. Heilen said. “These factors allow a team to strengthen their creative skills by brainstorming and working together to explore many options in solving a problem. The skills developed by team members allow them to grow as students, colleagues, community members, and leaders.”

Congratulations to these creative students, and join us in wishing them good luck as they head to the World Finals. You make us #PWCSProud.

Those interested in sponsoring the RRMS team, please contact Jennifer Heilen, science teacher and school Odyssey of the Mind coordinator at


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