Imagination propels teams into finals

Local teams to compete in Destination ImagiNation Global Finals in Tenn.

Local teams to compete in Destination ImagiNation Global Finals in Tenn.

April 15, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

A blueprint heist that sends a crook to the café, a crumbling house that gets thrown into court and a golden beetle search that stirs up ghosts are among the schemes four Destination ImagiNation teams from Washington County dreamed up and will get to show off in a global competition in May.

Two Clear Spring Middle School teams, a Clear Spring Elementary School team and a St. Mary Catholic School team will compete against students from across the country and the world in the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals on May 22, 23 and 24 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.

Destination ImagiNation is a national problem-solving competition. Teams of seven students create storylines, backdrops, structures and skits and compete against other student teams in like categories.


In the global qualifying Maryland state competition on March 15 at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, Clear Spring Middle Team One took second place, Clear Spring Middle Team Two took first place and the Clear Spring Elementary team took second place in the structural challenge ConnectDId. The St. Mary team took first place in the improvisational skit challenge, Once Improv A Time.

In ConnectDId students had to build and present in a skit, an 8-inch, all natural - no plywood, particle board, glue, nails, etc. - wood structure weighing less than 50 grams (1/9th lb.) that would support up to 500 pounds of weight.

For the Global Finals their structures will have to support up to 1,000 pounds.

Team Two member Samuel Myers, 11, said "The structure has to do really good because it's 78 percent of the presentation."

Each of the three Clear Spring teams is holding sandwich and bake sales to help fund their trips to Tennessee. The three teams need to come up with a total of $10,000.

"We're all going to put money in ourselves to make it work," said Team Two member Wendy Lucas, 11.

A member of the Elementary School ConnectDid Team Gavin Myers, 10, said he looks forward to having fun and getting out of school for the global competition.

All teams also must meet and solve an improvisational Instant Challenge within an 8-minute time limit. The teams won't be allowed to talk about the Instant Challenge, but most teams said it was their biggest concern for the global competition.

Instant challenges are improvisational and designed to stimulate the team's ability to think quickly and creatively to prepare solutions in minutes.

In Once Improv A Time, the St. Mary team had 30 minutes in a private room to come up with a skit with only seven rolls of tape, seven pairs of scissors, seven pencils and some newspaper. They were told their skit had to include Mount Everest, the Miller's daughter from "Rumplestiltskin" and the brick house from "The Three Little Pigs." They also were given three letters, "S," "V" and "P," with which they had to make a phrase to be used throughout their 6-minute skit. The boys devised the phrase "So Very Poor."

Their 3-1/2 minute skit played out that the Miller's Daughter won a free brick house at the foot of Mount Everest, but the structure's builder, Camille Ali Babba, was a scam artist. John Wayne warned the Miller's Daughter that the house was poorly built, but it wasn't until a brick fell on her head that she decided to sue Ali Babba. In a court hearing, a judge ruled in favor of Ali Babba and told the Miller's Daughter she once again, was "So Very Poor."

Sean Fitzgerald, who played the Miller's Daughter, said he was shocked that the team won their competition.

He said he felt like someone was watching over them.

Paul Donoghue, 13, who played John Wayne in the skit, demonstrated his award-winning cowboy walk and belted his lines from the side of his mouth.

The seven boys practically fell over each other while trying to talk about the state competition. They tried raising their hands but while one member spoke the other chimed in and it followed that way like a musical round nearly all the way around the table.

"We just blend," Ben Forsythe, 12, said. "Our coach said our practices are unbearable, but somehow at competition we just blend together."

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