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Destination Imagination competition 'amazing'

May 29, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN - Eric Rosenthal said it felt like he was at the U.S. Olympics when he and his family were at the international Destination Imagination competition in Knoxville, Tenn., over the weekend.

Destination Imagination is a problem-solving competition for school students, and nations competing at the international level over the weekend were introduced like those competing at the Olympics, Rosenthal said.

"I had chills," he said.

It would only get better for the Rosenthal family.

Rosenthal's daughter, Caroline, was on a St. Mary School middle school team that won the international title for its level.

The middle school team, known as the Mindbusters, fended off competition from 54 other teams from 14 countries to take first place, Eric Rosenthal said.

Caroline Rosenthal, talking about her win from a cell phone as she and her family were returning home to Hagerstown Sunday, said she never imagined walking away with a first-place trophy.

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The 14-year-old St. Mary School student said she and her team members were very nervous, given the competition they were facing.

"It was amazing," Caroline Rosenthal said of the team's win.

About 250,000 students in elementary through high school were expected to participate.

The Mindbusters had to incorporate a foreign country, a hat with some sort of mechanical function, a calamity that causes a worldwide stir, and singing and dancing.

Other members of the Mindbusters are Alexandra Bartha, Mary McGinley, Courtney Peterson, Isabella Schiro, Emily Steiner and Justin Winslow.

They were one of two teams representing St. Mary School.

Rosenthal's son, Michael, 11, was on the second team, called Magic Seven, an elementary-level group.

In that competition, students are presented a problem - such as building two separate units able to hold 14 grams when the structures are combined. They must then present a creative solution to the problem in an eight-minute skit.

The fifth-grade team had to create such a structure, but it also had to incorporate the name of a famous architect in its skit. So the team members chose to use naked mole rats as a metaphor for the architects of New York City's first subway system, George L. Heins and Christopher Grant Lafarge.

They used the Queen of the Naked Mole Rat's crown as their load-bearing structure.

The Magic Seven had a malfunction with its structure, which caused the team to be placed 30th in the world in its level, Eric Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal's wife, Shawn, was a manager for the Magic Seven team.

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