What is their destiny?

Destination ImagiNation teams tweak ideas for showdowns at state competitions

Destination ImagiNation teams tweak ideas for showdowns at state competitions

April 05, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

This Saturday several teams from Washington County will head to Towson University north of Baltimore for the state competition of Destination ImagiNation, which tests teams' problem-solving abilities.

Those teams include two from Washington County public high schools - Clear Spring and Smithsburg high schools.

To get this far, middle and high school teams had to place at least fourth at the Western Maryland regional tournament March 5 at Williamsport High School.

Elementary schools had to place first or second to go to the state contest.

To move on to globals in Knoxville, Tenn., in May, teams will need to finish first or second at states, said Dan Henderson, regional tournament director.

In Clear Spring

What do a Japanese bridge and Ritz crackers have in common?

Sounds like a problem for a group of imaginative students to solve, but actually the bridge and crackers are part of the solution.

They are props in the Clear Spring High School team's solution to two different Destination ImagiNation problems, "DIsigning Bridges" and "Live! It's RaDIo DI!"

Mackenzie Blair, 14, of Big Pool; Kyle Byrne, 15, of Clear Spring; Emily Pinkham, 14, of Clear Spring; Brandon Rada, 15, of Hagerstown; Derek Reichard, 14, of Clear Spring; Morgan Smith, 14, of Clear Spring; and Jordan Winters, 14, of Hagerstown, are competing in both categories at states for the problem-solving competition.

Mackenzie said the team decided to tackle two problems after some team members who had made it to globals in previous years saw a team do two problems and win both.

For "DIsigning Bridges," teams must design, build and test a bridge made of wood and/or monofilament fishing line and glue. The bridge is to be modeled after one in another nation, in this case a suspension bridge in Japan, Kyle said.

Team members must present a story they've created about the bridge that "connects" the cultures of two nations.

In "Live! It's RaDIo DI!" the team presents a story in a live "RaDIo" broadcast. The show must include a commercial break that makes an outrageous claim and includes a jingle. Brandon, Morgan and Emily, who is in the eighth grade at Clear Spring Middle School, promote Ritz crackers with an altered version of "Puttin' on the Ritz."

The team didn't have any competition in the "DIsigning Bridges" contest at regionals.

Going into states, Kyle, whose job it is to build the bridge, wasn't worried about not having competed against anyone in that category.

He said his teams have done well with structure competitions.

The team uses variations of the same skit for the two problems so they wouldn't have two completely different scripts to memorize, Brandon said.

Mackenzie said he knows winning states is not guaranteed and that team members needed to work hard during practices.

In Smithsburg

SMITHSBURG - Fun, friends, an addition to the résumé and the love of destroying and creating things are among the reasons six Smithsburg High School seniors are competing in Destination ImagiNation this year.

The seniors have found themselves in the minority among their high school colleagues with few other local high school students participating in the problem-solving competition.

"We don't speak of it much," said Mollie Meadows, 17, of Smithsburg. The girls said many of their classmates haven't done Destination ImagiNation since elementary school.

Teammate Kathy Brady, 18, of the Leitersburg area, said, "People need to be cool when they get to high school."

"DI isn't very cool, but we're cool," said teammate Elly Popper, 18, of Smithsburg.

The six students have teamed up for four years with some of them competing together even longer.

Friendships have helped them stick together, said Abe Nehemias, 17, of Cavetown.

While they are sentimental about their last year competing together, Elly said it also will be nice to move on.

But they have a job to do first.

In "DIzzy Derby," a vehicle with a nonhuman power source must be designed and raced around a triangular track carrying one or more team members. In this case, Jason Cross, 17, of the Leitersburg area - who is 6-foot-3 - will drive the small cart.

The boys built the vehicle using parts of a golf cart, a pedal cart and a sealed lead acid battery, they said.

The girls did the painting and wrote the script for the skit the vehicle is used in. The story is about a boy - played by Bobby Jones, 18, of the Smithsburg area - who is stressed about growing up and dreams about it.

The other characters represent temptation, childhood (the things he'll miss as an adult), protective parents, and jealousy and disappointment.

The vehicle has a cover that makes it look like a hamster. Representing everyone that tries to protect the boy, the hamster runs in triangles around him to keep him from escaping and growing up.

All Washington County teams

The following Washington County teams are eligible to compete in Saturday's state Destination ImagiNation tournament at Towson University:

The Herald-Mail Articles