Reagan Middle School wins second at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

The team celebrates after the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals awards ceremony at Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State University, including Anya Mischel, left, Sophia Heilen, Naomi Heilen, Maria Chica, Umi Komine, Mayna Malhotra and Michael Machosky. Submitted photo

A team from Ronald Reagan Middle School had an extremely successful trip to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World finals this year. The tournament, hailed as the world’s largest creative solving competition, was held from May 23-26 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. There, more than 835 elementary, middle school, high school and college teams from around the world worked together to solve complex problems before a panel of judges, according to a news release.

The Reagan team finished in second place at the finals, winning silver medals for the team and a trophy for the school.

Teams competed in one of five long-term problems and also participated in a spontaneous competition where teams use creativity and teamwork to solve a problem. Reagan’s team competed against 62 other middle school teams in Problem 3, the Classics problem. The Reagan team was one of 34 teams representing Virginia at the World Finals competition. The team is coached by Michael Heilen, a parent of two of the team members. The team advanced to the World Finals by winning first place in both the regional and state competitions.    They are the first team from Prince William County to compete and place in the finals.

To win second place, Reagan’s Mustangs created a mockumentary that introduced new plot elements to a classic story through behind-the-scenes action, interviews, conflicting perspectives, flashbacks and a witness character that revealed to the audience what really happened in the reinterpreted tale, according to Heilen.

Team member Anya Mischel noted about the win, “Advancing to world finals is like climbing to the top of a high mountain. Sure, from the bottom, the trek looks exhausting, but when you reach the peak, the view is amazing.”

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