Richmond Hill High School is taking on the world. The World Finals, that is.
The RHHS Odyssey of the Mind Dinostories team is preparing to compete in the final competition May 31-June 3 at the University of Maryland in College Park, after qualifying in the state competition in April.
RHHS student Matt Cordle, who’s in his second year of OTM and went to the World Finals last year, said he thinks they have a really good chance to place against more than 40 other teams all solving the same problem.
"We have a very good performance this year," Cordle said. "We just need to make sure all the final details come together…if we do everything we’ve set out to do, I think we can place in the top five or six."
Mark Linsky, RHHS French teacher, is the OTM coach and will head to Maryland with the group.
Linsky said the four RHHS Odyssey teams had to pick from six problems and the Dinostories team picked problem two, which requires them to come up with an original theory for what happened to the dinosaurs.
"I’m so proud of them," Linsky said. "They’re all incredible and it’s a neat balance of technical, creative and artistic talents. Each student brings a mix of something different."
Senior James Slack said this, his first year of OTM, has been the best extracurricular program he’s participated in during his high school career.
"If I knew I could stay back a year and be able to do Odyssey again – and still get into the college I want to go to – I’d do it, it’s that amazing," he said. "You have to be creative. Like with our set, we used materials you wouldn’t normally think of to create something spectacular."
Cordle described the program as a way to channel free time into something with a purpose.
"This is like a job. We’ve spent two days a week, four or five hours each day, working on this," he said. "As we get closer to the World competition, we’ll be practicing it every day."
As part of the finals, local teams can choose to be like host buddies to overseas teams. RHHS will host the Singapore team, which Slack said is one of the most renowned OTM teams in the competition.
"The students not only get to go perform, but they get to see other performances and learn things from one another," Linsky said.
This trip is also looking to be the first ever school-sponsored out of state field trip for Bryan County. The Board of Education will officially vote on approving the trip as school sponsored at their next meeting May 22.
The school is planning to fund the team’s membership fees, lodging and food during the trip. The team is additionally aiming to raise $3,000 for travel funding. Their next and final fundraiser is Wednesday, 5-9 p.m., at Arby’s, with 50 percent of all food sales going to the group. The group is also accepting donations; please contact Pam King at 727-3113 or Michael Butler at 727-2122.
The Dinostories team also includes Michael Butler, John Kreutz, Alex Landry and Lindsey Sheffield.