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Potowmack Elementary returns to Odyssey World Finals

The Potowmack Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team and coach receive a trophy from Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams and OM Regional Director David Tsuda. Courtesy Photo
For the second consecutive year, a Potowmack Elementary School Odyssey of the Mind team is headed to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

The team, which goes by the name of Secretive Minds, is made up of fourth and fifth grade students at Potowmack: Dhruv Anurag, Kulsum Dewji, Ankur Gatupa, Katie Gross, Jahnavi Guduru, Eliyas Kordi and Arjun Setty.

Nearly half of the team’s members were part of the Potowmack team that made it to last year’s World Finals, where they finished at Number 18 in a field of 64 teams.

“This year, there will be a lot more teams competing,” Arjun Setty, a member of both World Finals teams, said. “It’s going to get challenging.”

According to Setty, the experience of attending the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals is “amazing.”

“They have some cool things set up. Last time, they had a water park set up only for Odyssey of the Mind participants,” he said.

“You got to stay in college dorms,” he added. “That was an awesome experience. You get to make friends with people from other countries, play with them in the recreation center, play basketball with them. It was really cool.”

The Secretive Minds earned their spot at the World Finals with an April 1 win at the Odyssey of the Mind Virginia state tournament, where they performed their solution to the problem titled “Catch us if you can.”

Now the team is focused on raising money to make the trip to Michigan State University for the World Finals. A GoFundMe page is online at gofundme.com/Send-us-to-OM-World2017. In addition, the team is planning a movie night and bake sale at Potowmack Elementary on May 5. The event is open to the public. Also in the planning stages are a car wash, a lemonade stand and a Spirit Night at Chuck E. Cheese at Dulles Town Center.

When asked about the secret of the team’s success, Setty had an immediate answer.

“Our team works very well together and we gelled a lot, too,” he said.

Setty also cited the importance of the help of the team’s coach, Hemanth Setty, who is his father.

The elder Setty, who also coached the previous World Finals team, pointed out that the Odyssey of the Mind experience focuses on providing opportunities for learning, acknowledging individual strengths and working together as a team.

“It’s not about winning,” Hemanth Setty said. “If you give them an opportunity, everyone can succeed.”

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