Connect with us

Local News

Students from NEA will compete internationally



Brookland, Arkansas – Soon, young pupils from a certain Region 8 school district will compete against students from around the world.

Young people at Iowa State University’s Brookland Elementary and Middle Schools are getting ready for this week’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. On Tuesday, May 21, 41 pupils in the second through eighth grades will depart for the competition in Ames, Iowa, to present their originality and problem-solving abilities to an international audience.

Coordinator Paige Barnes stated that the teams’ places in the esteemed international competition were guaranteed by their exceptional accomplishments at the state event.

“We have the most going in the state of Arkansas, and we’re so excited that all of our teams made it,” Barnes said. “To advance to the world finals, you have to place in your state tournament, and we had three teams place second and three teams place first.”

Students from all over the world compete against one another by taking on creative challenges at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. In addition to the excitement of competition, OOTM teaches its members important life skills including cooperation, public speaking, and creative thinking.

“We’re trying to solve these problems in a way that we think nobody else in the world is,” Barnes said.

Previous victories at the Orlando 2020 World Finals provide inspiration for the six Brookland teams. Bekket Soles and Kasen Peevey, eighth graders, remember their victory with fondness even though there were no international rivals because of the pandemic. Even though other nations weren’t participating, Soles claimed she still views it as a victory.

“They handed us the gold medals, and it was amazing, we were so excited,” Soles said.

“Winning something that we’ve been working on for years was an unforgettable moment,” Peevey said.

Students like Ella Barnes and Adleigh Faries find freedom and confidence in the Odyssey of the Mind program, having dedicated months to honing their performances.

“We started in September, and we have to make the script from scratch, make the props, fix things that need to be fixed,” said Barnes, an eighth grader.

“We’re able to do it all how we want to do it and use our own creativity and imagination,” said Faries, another eighth grader.

On Tuesday, students and coaches leave for Iowa, where they will compete all week long in a number of categories. On Friday, May 24, there will be an awards ceremony.

Barnes is really hoping that her kids will bring some hardware home with them. Regardless of the outcome, she expressed her pride in them.

“If you get called out in the top six, you’re accomplishing something,” Barnes said. “We’ve done it a few times, and we’re hoping to do it again this time.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *