Education is so massively important to me and I get excited when I hear about students who thirst for knowledge and seek out learning opportunities outside of the classroom. One of those outside of the classroom programs is something called Odyssey of the Mind.

Odyssey of the Mind brings together students as they work together to find creative ways to solve problems which range from mechanical devices to interpretation of literary classics.

Odyssey of the Mind has been going strong for nearly 25 years, and for more than 15 years, Binghamton has Binghamton University has played host to the New York state competition level which means that the brightest young minds in New York state will gather at Binghamton University to face other teams.

Odyssey of the Mind participants compete in groups against other student groups in their area and then the local winners then move on to the state level. At the state level,  which is held at Binghamton University, students must go head to head against other kids from New York and then the state winners move on to the world level.

I've had the pleasure of watching competitions in 2013 when my childhood friend Raina came to Binghamton with her son and in 2016 when another childhood friend, Carrie visited Binghamton with her daughter.

Alumni of the Odyssey of the Mind program include actor Josh Hutcherson, best known for his role of "Peeta" in the "Hunger Games" movies as well as Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, proving that the problem solving techniques used in Odyssey of the Mind can infiltrate all aspects of life.

Organizers expect that about 4,000 people will attend the New York state level. The fun starts at 8am this Saturday, April 8th at the Events Center at Binghamton University and will wrap up with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm. Admission to watch the challenges is completely free.