Two Stamford teams recently embarked on an educational experience of a lifetime. Students from the Academy of Information, Technology & Engineering (AITE) and Toquam Elementary traveled to Michigan State University to compete in the 40th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals from May 22-25th. The all-girls “STEMinist” team from AITE placed in the top 10, finishing 10th in the exceptionally competitive Division III, Problem 2. They also had honor of serving as a buddy team for the Shanghai Girls School #3 team from Shanghai, China. The elementary students from Toquam finished in 27th place overall, achieving the 6th highest spontaneous score in their problem and division. The Odyssey of the Mind competition emphasizes creativity, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (STEAM), and teamwork. The program, part of The Stamford Public Education Foundation’s (SPEF) Enrichment Programming, has had Stamford Public School participants for decades. This year, Stamford students competed alongside 45 teams, representing 31 states and 14 foreign teams from across the globe. The level of competition at Odyssey of the Mind increases each year, with students becoming more creative in immersing Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Eight-foot working Ferris wheels, a 3D rendering of DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man made of melted crayon balls suspended in mid-air from a PVC frame, and other creative inventions were on display throughout the arena. The students were excited to put their knowledge to the test, and pleased that they place so highly against global competitors. The competition might only last three days, but the memories created and the lasting friendships are forever. While Odyssey of the Mind promotes enrichment, the highlight of the program is the international comradery between students. The AITE team served as a buddy team for the Shanghai Girls School #3 team from Shanghai, China. The two teams supported one another throughout the competition and enjoyed spending time together, as well as exchanging gifts from their respective countries. The girls plan to keep in touch via social media. “We are proud of the hard work of these students, and are glad they had such a great experience competing at this international level. The Stamford Public Education Foundation will continue to support programs such as Odyssey of the Mind, which allow creative problem-solving, comradery, and educational opportunities beyond the classroom,” said SPEF CEO, Matthew Quinones.