They received not one but two medals today. One was for winning their age group/problem. The other was the Ranatra Fusca Award. According to the Odyssey website, “The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award is given to a team or individual for demonstrating outstanding creativity. This award embodies all that the Odyssey of the Mind program represents.” Alex's team wasn't given it for their presentation, but instead for the spontaneous part of the competition. Each team is shut away in a room and given a unique kind of problem to solve in a short period of time. Nobody is allowed inside except the kids and the judges. Not even the coaches find out about it until later, in order to keep it as fair as possible. It's all very hush hush.
Anyway, the judges gave the team the award for what they did during this test, and among the three things the judges pointed as to why was an implementation idea that Alex came up with as they were building the structure the problem requested. On top of that, this was the very first one that’s ever been awarded in our region. Our coach, who has been involved in Odyssey for over ten years, has only ever seen a single one awarded before, for a team at the state competition a few years ago. Needless to say, I'm so proud of him and the other kids.
In other Alex news, college acceptances are starting to trickle in. Alex applied to six colleges, all in California. On Thursday, he got notification that he was an early admit for UC Santa Cruz, which was one of his top three choices. It relieves the burden a lot. He could easily end up going there and be very happy, which is all that matters.