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Destination ImagiNation teams rich in experience

May 27, 2003|By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The four Washington County Destination ImagiNation teams, their coaches and family members arrived home Sunday night exhausted and a little disappointed but reveling in the richness of their trip to the global finals in Knoxville, Tenn.

"I think team member Zach Repp summed it all up by saying he would never forget his experiences at Destination ImagiNation," said Lydia Byrne, a parent who accompanied the three Clear Spring teams to Tennessee.

Mike Fitzgerald, co-team manager with David Beachley for the St. Mary's Elementary team, said the seven youngsters on his team can't stop talking about the trip and the competition.

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As far as rankings are concerned, the Clear Spring Elementary team placed 18th; Clear Spring Middle School Team I tied for 25th; Clear Spring Middle School Team II was 31st; and St. Mary's placed 38th in its competition.

Each local team qualified for the global finals by winning or placing second at the Maryland State Destination ImagiNation competition at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in March.

In the global qualifying Maryland competition, Clear Spring Middle Team II took first place, Clear Spring Middle Team I took second place and the Clear Spring Elementary team took second place in the structural challenge ConnectDId.

The St. Mary's team took first place in the improvisational skit challenge, "Once Improv A Time in Maryland."

The global finals were held May 22 to 24 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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

More than 17,000 students were competing in Tennessee, Byrne said.

"My most special moment came at the Instant Challenge event when our middle school teams met the team from Seoul, Korea, who had done the same problem we had," team manager Patti Blair said.

With no understanding of the other's languages, the members of the two teams began drawing pictures of their homelands for each other.

"We traded pins with them and before it was over, they were calling us brothers," Blair said. "It was a great learning experience."

That Korean team, KASI from Mapo-ku, Seoul, South Korea, went on to win second place, Blair said.

"I told my kids that they were all winners," Blair said, noting that she prepared them ahead of time for the rigors of a global competition. "After all, each and every one of them had solved the problem, and that's great."

Byrne said that on June 9, the Clear Spring team members are hosting a dinner for all the sponsors who made it possible for the teams to travel to Tennessee.

"We want to thank them for letting us experience this event," Byrne said. "People really came through for us."

All team members went to the competition with pins to swap. "We had pins with crabs and cows on them," Fitzgerald said. Since Maryland is one of only three states with a triple-crown horse race, their triple-crown pins were very popular for swapping.

The instant challenge presented to St. Mary's team was to make a structure out of a variety of objects, build it at least 20 inches high and place it on a spinning plate.

"Every time the object stayed on the plate for a full spin, the team got two points," Fitzgerald said.

After two spins, the team's styrofoam/pencil/straw concoction went down.

"I think we spun the plate a little too fast," Fitzgerald said.

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