Tahoe Truckee Odyssey of the Mind teams excel in competition

Special to the Sun
Courtesy photo

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Ten Truckee Tahoe teams made a strong showing at the regional Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) tournament performing their solutions in Sacramento this March. The regional tournament includes students from 13 counties in Northern California.

This year students from Alder Creek Middle School, Glenshire Elementary, Kings Beach Elementary, North Tahoe School, Truckee High, Truckee Elementary, Sierra Expeditionary Learning School and Tahoe Lake Elementary participated in OOTM, a program run entirely by volunteers. Dr. Rob Leri, Superintendent-Chief Learning Officer for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, made the drive down to Sacramento to see the teams compete.

“The ingenuity and creativity of these scholars was just amazing. The North Tahoe team presented the solution to their problem entirely in Spanish, taking the gold medal in their division. I was impressed with every student who participated at regionals,” said Dr. Leri.

Teams are made up of five to seven students who work together for six months to create a solution to a multifaceted problem. Some of the long-term problems included building a 15-gram balsa and glue structure that supports hundreds of pounds, creating a musical about art and architecture, a technical representation of how messages are sent by email, or designing and building vehicles with different propulsion systems that must tackle challenges. At tournaments students are also given spontaneous problems to solve quickly to show how well they work as a team and think on their feet.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international education program that provides creative problem solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. It is based on the idea that creativity can be taught. Local teams are thankful for funds donated and volunteer coaching support from the Truckee Rotary Club and a grant from Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Queen of Hearts Fund that paid for team registration fees.

Five of the 10 Tahoe-Truckee teams scored first or second place and advanced to their state championship tournament in Brentwood, Calif. on March 23. There they competed with more than 1,300 other top teams from all over California. All five teams placed in the top 10 in their divisions at state. The Alder Creek Middle School team took third place in their division, narrowly missing the chance to compete at the world competition. The Truckee High School team took fifth in their division. The teams compete in three different areas: long-term problem, style (judged along with the long-term problem), and spontaneous problem solving. Truckee High took first place in the spontaneous competition for their division.

The Board of Trustees recognized the excellent work of all Odyssey of the Mind participants, including the teams and coaches, at their March 20 board meeting.

For more information about Odyssey of the Mind, visit If you would like to volunteer, coach or judge in March 2014, or if your family would like to be involved with OOTM, contact Leisa Peterson or Jean Fournier at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.