It was an exciting weekend for Sunman-Dearborn school teams at Destination Imagination's Indiana State Finals, as all six Sunman-Dearborn teams placed in the top three, said DI team manager Sheree Barrell.
Three teams won first place, two teams won second place and one team won third in competition Saturday, April 13, at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Fishers.
The three first-place teams now head to the University of Tennessee to compete in Global Finals, said Barrell. They will meet and compete with other teams from around the country and the world.
What is Destination Imagination? It is an exciting, community-based program, open to all school-aged children, she said.
“It builds creativity, problem-solving and teamwork skills,” she said.Teams of five to seven students work with adult team managers for six to seven months devising a solution to a challenge: an open-ended problem with a set of rules.
“Team members write scripts, compose music, build sets and structures, create technical devices, fashion costumes, construct a set, choreograph their performance, and respond instantly to given situations,” explained Barrell.
The elementary team, The North Dearborn Ninjas, chose a non-verbal challenge which is very difficult, said Barrell, explaining this also is their first year in DI.
This team consists of six second and third graders from NDES: Abby Bowling, Michael Hamon, Katie Messmer, Erin Pottschmidt, Lilly Scholle and Leah South, said Barrell. They performed a skit for the “In Disguise” Challenge. The skit could not contain any words, and had to be about someone/something changing their identity or personality and using a disguise.
“They had to include a decorative and morphing mask in their skit,” said Barrell. “The kids created a skit about a bully that changed his ways and made some friends after he realized that being a bully was no fun.” They created a classroom setting out of 100% recycled materials using old boxes and paper tubes. Each member created his or her own mask for their skit.
They placed first at the regional level and first at the state level competitions, said Barrell.
The Sunman Dearborn Middle School/Intermediate School team, which goes by LAME, OK (their initials,) chose an outreach community service challenge: project Outreach Real to Reel and helped the Heart House, local homeless shelter in Aurora, said Barrell.
Most of this team has been doing DI for years: Lucy Brush, Ashley Craig, Molly Graham, Emily Smith, Olivia Barrell and Karen Robbins.
“They worked hard to raise money and items for the shelter. They held a Christmas party for the children at the Heart House and bought lots of Christmas presents from their fundraising projects,” said Barrell.
In their challenge, they had to film, edit and present a documentary movie about their project and also include a press conference during their presentation, she said.
They built an elaborate set of a city that changes into a future city where Lady Gaga is the president!
They also made an Ice Chamber that housed two “frozen team members” who thawed out before our eyes, said Barrell.
“The whole experience gave them a new understanding of the hardships that some people face and how to help make a difference,” she said. They, too, placed first.
The East Central High School team, MANABS, are all seniors and have been working together as a team since elementary school: Megan Campbell, Angie Bittner, Natalie Pottschmidt, Brandon Kline and Sydney Raftery.
They chose the Improve Challenge: Change in RealiTee, said Barrell. They had to use tee shirts, markers and create an improvisation skit about the world that has undergone a dramatic change overnight.
Not only did they earn a first place, “they were so funny they had the judges laughing very hard,” said Barrell. “They even have a 'following' of other teams that come to study them to so they can improve their own team's skills,” she said.
All of the seniors are going to college next year and feel that their experience in DI has definitely broadened their horizons and given them great thinking and communication skills, said Barrell.
Global Finals is the culminating event of every Destination Imagination season, she said. In May, over 1,200 teams from teams from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 13 countries gather to showcase their Challenge solutions.
Over 15,000 people attend Global Finals to celebrate creativity and have fun.
This does have great expense, said Barrell, asking folks to “please help these awesome kids get to Globals!”
The teams are fund raising with Snappy Tomato Pizza Night in Bright Thursday, April 18, Wednesday, April 24, and Friday, April 26, said Barrell
“Please come out and support us,” she said, thanking Snappy Tomato Pizza for all its support.
There are other fund raisers and grants in the works, and if there are any companies that would like to donate and sponsor the team please contact Jean Schmeltzer, DI coordinator and SDIS teacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or Barrell, SDMS/SDIS team manager at email@example.com.
The two S-D teams placing second: ECHS team Awesome Opossums, project Wind Visible; and S-DIS team Let's Band Together, team In Disguise. ECHA team Duct Tape Junkies placed third with Twist-O-Rama.