The Scholars Academy OM team including Matthew Cline, Bo Miller, Erin Quick, Alston Stevenson, Jackson Hodge, Ella Millere, and Reid Harbin presented its performance-based problem solution at World Finals at Iowa State University during May 23-26, in Ames, Iowa.
The team’s solution for the problem, “Stellar Hangout,” included a 6.5-foot dragon made entirely out of spoons; a giant, glowing and talking eyeball; and computer programmed puppets that spoke without manual manipulation.
“This team never ceases to amaze me!” Coach Kimsey Hodge said about the team. “The hours and effort that they put into a solution is mind-boggling. It’s like an obsession with them. I even had to limit their requested work time in order to spend time with family this year. They utilized that time very efficiently.”
This experienced team also mentored the MacIntyre Park Middle School team that qualified for and attended World Finals, the school’s first-ever OM World Finals team. Rising senior Erin Quick enjoyed mentoring the newcomers.
“It was so much fun to experience World Finals through the eyes of someone who has never been before. They are such sweet guys,” said Quick.
The MPMS team competed in the Balsa Wood Structure problem, “Animal House.” The team had to build a structure weighing no more that 15 grams but held as much weight as possible. At regional competition, the team held 185 pounds. Members who attended World Finals were Acire Golden, Donovan Brooks, and Dillon Brown.
“I learned a lot about structures, but I also learned about teamwork and commitment,” said Brooks,rising Thomasville High School freshman.
Co-coach Marc Cramer felt the MPMS team grew, as well.
“They really learned a lot this year and it was great to watch them figure out the process of building structures and learning about teamwork,” said Cramer.
After competition in Iowa, both teams and coaches took an educational side trip to Chicago before coming home. They visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and saw the historically-based musical, Hamilton.
“It was amazing!” stated Harbin, a rising sophomore at Scholars Academy, as he was leaving the theater.
Fellow rising Scholars Academy sophomore, Jax Hodge has been listening to the soundtrack for well over a year and said, “I loved it!”
Class of 2018 senior Cline said, “It was the most incredible experience of my life...I have chill bumps!”
Cline, incidentally, missed his own graduation from Thomasville High School in order to compete at World Finals. Fortunately, a graduation ceremony is held at World Finals for just this type of situation, considering the time of the year in which the competition is held. On Friday, May 25, Cline walked across the stage at Iowa State University with close to 100 graduates from around the world who were also missing their gradations to be at the competition.
Both teams, as well as the other teams housed at Scholars Academy will begin preparing for next year’s competition as early as this summer.
“That’s the difference between the teams that do well and the teams who struggle,” stated Kimsey Hodge. “Those who find success in OM start early and work many, long hours - which means their coaches do also!”
This incredible trip would not have been possible without the generous support of Thomasville City Schools; The City of Thomasville; Kiwanis; Senior Life; Hong Yip; Quirky Perks; The Gift Shop; TECT Company; Barbarito’s of Tallahassee; JB Crumbs; Diablos; H&H Engraving; Bertschy Construction; Grassroots Coffee; Representative Darlene Taylor; The Gift Shop; Chastain’s BP Service Station; Liam’s; Jonah’s Fish and Grits; Thomasville National Bank, Bobby Dollar’s Appliance Consultants; You’re Maker; Taste of Thomasville; Chick-fil-a of Thomasville; Sweet Grass Dairy; The Bookshelf; Kouncil Klub; Billiard Academy; TOSAC; Small Cakes; Savannah Moon; Cairo Medical Care; Silvis, Ambrose, Lindquist and Coch; Al Dixon Menswear; Courtney’s Couture; Carroll and Company; Full Circle Lawn and Landscaping; Mary Madison Boutique; and many other private donations.