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Imaginations put to test

March 07, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

"Pop. Slice. Sizzle. Steam it. Pop. Slice. Sizzle. Steam it," chanted the cartoonish characters representing strength, intelligence, fire and water.

The chant was to the tune of "Cell Block Tango" from the musical "Chicago," but the scene was a world far away staged in the auditorium at South Hagerstown High School for this year's Destination Imagination Western Regional Competition.

The characters in the Cartoon DImensions competition had learned to work together to transform the planet from a desert wasteland into a lush landscape.

The St. Mary's School team was one of 39 teams from Washington and Frederick counties participating in this year's problem solving contests, said Dan Henderson, tournament director for Destination Imagination.

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The competition featured eight more teams than last year, but none from Carroll, Allegany or Garrett counties, Henderson said.

The St. Mary's School team, which called itself The Hyper Chickens, was rewarded with enthusiastic applause.

"We did good, but we still need to work on our props," said Kristen DiMercurio, who served as narrator for her team.

The team had running water simulating a waterfall and balloons that expanded to make fake planets three dimensional, but a smoke machine in the spaceship failed to work.

The team wrapped up its performance with its spin on Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel," with sixth-grader Elias Orfan portraying Elvis.

"I can't believe it. No one else in the family sings," Orfan's father, Nick Orfan, said while taking pictures after the song ended.

Other team members were Tanner Beal, Maggie Espiridion, Caroline Rosenthal, Kimberly Scarano and Jessica Stein, team manager Shawn Rosenthal said.

The Hyper Chickens later discovered they won first place and will go to the state competition April 17 at Towson (Md.) University.

"We won first place, so we're really excited about that," Shawn Rosenthal said in a telephone interview. The students were "on top of the world."

"They worked hard," Rosenthal said.

Winners at that event will go to the global finals at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., scheduled for May 26-29.

A Northern Middle School team did a skit about a comic writer with writer's block who comes up with a story idea about a superhero named Trash Man while dreaming.

After preparing since October, the team's four members - Bobby Barnhart, Becka Beard, Abbey Burke and Joe Valenzo - almost had to start over about three weeks ago when two other teammates dropped out, co-team manager Mark A. Kaniski said.

"I think we did good, a lot better than we thought we would," Burke said. The team needed to work on projection and articulation, she said.

Most of the competitions took place at South High except for The Plot and the Pendulum, which was held at neighboring Emma K. Doub Elementary School's cafeteria. The challenge required students to come up with a theatrical presentation that has two original stories based on the same beginning.

A different St. Mary's School team chose to set their stories on a girl's head in Liceland. Team members turned themselves into lice by wearing white and having a second set of arms and hands that also moved.

The stories diverted after the girl created a strong wind in Liceland by either scratching her head or waving her hand through her hair.

In one story, the wind caused a boat to crash and a prisoner to escape. In the second story, the wind knocked over a torch, setting the room on fire.

The fire was extinguished with magic violin playing.

The violin performance was one of at least three talents each team needed to showcase, team manager Susan McGinley said.

The team consisted of Rebecca Gonzalez, Charles McGuigan, Courtney Peterson, Gabriella Schiro, Emily Steiner, Justin Winslow and McGinley's daughter, Mary.

The other two talents showcased by the team were artwork and the song writing and choreography for their number titled "Everybody Wants to be a Louse," McGinley said.

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