The nearly legendary OM team that includes Jacob Rieber, Cameren Rogers, Mason Hodge, Sharon Autry, Carlyn Autry, Asa Harbin, and Shivanee Patel were awarded the Ranatra Fusca award in addition to their first place finish and advancement to state in solving the "Aesop's Gone Viral" long term problem. The award is the highest a team can receive for extreme creativity; it is not necessarily given at every competition, so it is an extreme honor. This group of students has advanced to World Finals three times over their years at Scholars Academy and won the Ranatra Fusca when they were in 8th grade. It is a rarity for any team to win this award. The team is coached by retired Scholars Academy teacher and veteran OMer, Sharon Cernogorsky.
On the nomination form, the judging team wrote, "Creating an astounding musical theatre performance, each element meshed together seamlessly, and the surprises just kept coming. The team used 13 puppets, including an amazing spider made from socks that worked by a massive pulley system.
The “style” judges said, “The use of socks was the best we've seen. But it doesn't stop there. The team engineered a medical circuit board to make a keyboard play by itself using tiny clothespins as hammers to make the notes, and it was all coded by a team member who 'just taught himself programming.' Simply put, there was not one single element in this fantastic performance that did not amaze and wow the judges."
Five more teams of students in Katie Chastain's Design Thinking class at Scholars Academy will advance to state competition: 1st Place - "Aesop Gone Viral," Division III (Frederick Drayton, Tian Green, Semira Davis, Bre'Yannah Frazier, Seth Welch, and Micah Moser); 1st Place- "Stack Attack," Division II (Max White, Jack Edge, Elease Ryals, Sydney Born, Winston Cornish, Smith Largent); 2nd Place - "No-Cycle Recycle," Division III (RJ Elzy, Christopher Carpenter, Olivia Sawyer, Abigail Mims, Aiden Little, Wyndham Drayton, Jax Hodge); 2nd Place - "Something Fishy" Division III (Jala Walker, Jack Atkinson, Lilith Edwards, Erin Quick, Alston Stevenson, Oliver Yant, and Elijah Humphries); and 2nd Place - "Fins, Furs, Feathers, & Friends" Division III (Bo Miller, Mathew Whetsell, Matthew Cline, Tristen Logue, Holly Rumble, Jax Hodge, and Owen Banaitis). The “Fins, Furs, Feathers, & Friends” group earned a perfect score on “style.”
Scholars Academy also won 1st place at Valdosta and 2nd place at Lilburn in the "Banner" competition. Jack Atkinson and Lilith Edwards headed up the concept of the "Mindbuster" character they created and built to represent their school. He is over six feet tall and is made out of PVC pipe, chicken wire, newspaper, and recycled cans.
OM is a creative problem-solving program for students from kindergarten through college. It’s an “interscholastic sport” and is meant to promote and encourage creativity and teamwork among the participants.