Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


NDA Students Place Third In World Odyssey Finals

Published June 19, 2008

Sixth-grader Patrick McKenna, fifth-graders Sean Egan, Robby Johnson, Will Summerlin and David Zink, and third-grader Joey Johnson comprised the team. They used their creative problem-solving skills to present their unique solution to the “Odyssey Road Rally” problem at the event. The young team, though made up of five elementary grade students and only one middle school student, placed third in the world competition at the division 2 or middle school level.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students throughout the U.S. and more than 15 other countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Germany and Mexico. Students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Judging is based on the team’s solution to their selected long-term problem, their style and how they perform in the spontaneous portion of the competition.

“You never know what you are going to get with spontaneous,” said team member Robby Johnson. “You walk into the room where several judges are seated, and there are random materials placed in front of you. The judges present you with a problem, give the team a minute to talk about the problem, and then give the team maybe five minutes to solve that problem with the materials. At world, our long-term and style scores were pretty strong, and our spontaneous score, which was the highest in our division, really helped.”

In addition, Johnson said, “The whole experience is incredible. At world finals, kids come from all over the world to present their solutions. Every vehicle and set is unique, and you hear different languages being spoken everywhere. Pin trading is big. You try to trade pins with someone from every country and many of the states. It is also great to compete against students from other countries.”

Teams from Poland and Pennsylvania placed first and second, respectively.

Notre Dame Academy is an independent, Marist-sponsored Catholic school located at 4635 River Green Parkway, Duluth. Additional information about the school can be found at Odyssey of the Mind information can be found at