Students gearing up for Destination ImagiNation global finals

May 24, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

A team of students from Emma K. Doub Elementary School that created its own cartoon story, complete with characters and costumes, is among three Washington County teams moving on to the Global Finals of Destination ImagiNation this week.

Teams from Clear Spring Middle School and Smithsburg High School also will participate in the May 26-29 competition in Knoxville, Tenn. The Washington County Board of Education is paying up to $3,000 per team to defray costs.

Destination ImagiNation is one of the world's largest creativity and problem-solving programs for children and teenagers, according to the organization.

During the state final competitions in mid-April, the Doub team came in first place, the middle school team came in second place and the high school team placed second. Altogether, 13 Washington County teams participated in the state finals.


As part of the Global Finals, each team must solve an improvisational Instant Challenge. The teams do not know the subject of that challenge until the day of the competition.

Each of the three local teams is in a separate competition:

-- For the "Cartoon Dimensions Challenge," the Emma K. Doub team had to create an original cartoon story with costumes and characters. For the skit, the team members wrote and acted out a story in which cartoon characters come to life and a superhero saves the day.

While some other students initially thought getting involved in the competition was a dumb idea, they now are jealous and want to be on the team, said team member Laura Cooper, 11. But that may also be because the students get to miss one full week of school, said team member Kimberlee Mauck, 10.

They like the event because they get to meet new people and make friends, Cooper and Mauck said. Both are in fifth grade.

-- For the "GuessDImate Challenge," the Clear Spring team had to build a structure of wood and glue and estimate how many pounds of weight it could hold. Each of the team members came up with different theme ideas for the contest and voted on the best one. They decided to do a parody of the Wright Brothers flight, in which they mixed fact with fiction.

They used balsa wood, some oak and glue to put together a replica of the Wright Brothers plane that is about two feet wide and 18 inches deep, team manager Patty Truax Blair said.

Mackenzie Blair, her son and a team member, said he likes being part of the annual event because he enjoys the teamwork and having to solve problems and collaborate on challenges.

-- For the "Destinations in Time Challenge," the Smithsburg team had to build a timing device, perform three tasks on schedule and tell a story.

The team uses an electric motor to perform the different tasks, said Jason Cross, 17.

Most of the team members have worked together on teams in past years, which helps them work better together, said Kathy Brady, 17.

While the boys on the team did the technical work, the girls made sure everything looked good for the eight-minute skit, said Mollie Meadows, 17.

At the state competition, the school was the only one that had its tasks completely automated, team manager Rich Brady said.

Using props, including a 6-foot cardboard replica of a Ferrari, the students tell a story of six friends going to Italy.

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