Four county teams headed to Destination Imagination Globals competition in May
— Pirate ships, a medieval kingdom, 1950s gangsters and the world fair are some of the people and places Cecil County Destination Imagination students have created on stage in the last few months.
Now four Destination Imagination teams from Cecil County schools will be taking their creations to an even bigger stage: the global DI finals in Knoxville, Tenn.
Teams from Holly Hall Elementary School, Perryville Middle School, Bohemia Manor High School and The Tome School all placed high enough at the state tournament earlier this month to qualify for the global competition on May 25.
Destination Imagination is the world’s largest creative problem solving program for kindergarteners through college students, with teams in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. Teams of up to seven students compete against each other in challenges that are a mixture of performance, engineering, problem solving and creative thinking.
With the global competition now about a month away, all four county teams are practicing their performances and working to raise the thousands of dollars needed to fund their trips.
“Going to globals is more than just a little trip away from school,” said Ellen Williams, a parent who coaches the Bo Manor team. “There’s teams there from all over the world. It’s a great experience.”
The four county teams made it to globals after dominating the “Get A Clue” challenge at the state level. Of the 12 Maryland teams that will compete in that challenge in Knoxville, a third are from Cecil County, including both the first and second place teams in the elementary school division.
In this challenge, the teams have to create a mystery play including writing their own script and creating their own props, costumes and set. The play must be set before 1990, identify three suspects and then reveal the culprit live on
stage. For the live reveal, the students open an envelope midway through the play to learn who the culprit is and thus must have three alternate endings prepared.
Though the challenge requirements are different every year, all four teams have previous success going to globals. Scott Dellosso, a language arts teacher at PVMS, runs both the middle and high school Perryville teams and has had at least one team qualify for globals each of the past seven years.
This year’s group of two sixth-graders, one seventhgrader and four eighthgraders was chosen from the nearly 50 kids who tried out at the beginning of the school year. The PVMS students, who call themselves the Perryville Moist Floppy Puncakes, chose to do a gangster play set in 1959. The play revolves around a man who steals cheese, which he mistakes for gold, only to have the cheese stolen from him, Dellosso said.
“They’re very creative and very fun,” Dellosso said of his team. “Their whole skit is littered with puns, which is why they’re called the ‘puncakes.’”
The Bo Manor high school team has a similar history of success. Three of the group’s team members have been doing DI together since fourth grade and have been to globals twice. For this year’s play, the team decided to set the action in 1893 on a train bound for the World Fair in Chicago. After the conductor on the train is murdered, one of the scientists on the train uses her invention to help catch the killer, Williams said.
The team’s experience is one of its biggest assets, and over the years, the group has become very good at understanding how to approach the type of open-ended problems DI presents, Williams said.
“They’ve really learned how to make something out of nothing,” she said.
Though the students from Holly Hall has less overall experience in DI, they’ve also learned a bit about making something out of nothing. Because DI requires the teams to make their own sets and costumes, many of the Holly Hall students learned how to use tools such as a hot glue gun and a jigsaw for the first time this year.
Holly Hall’s skit is set in a medieval kingdom and centers around the mystery of who has stolen a precious painting from the queen.
Like their elementary school counterparts, the group of fourth-graders at the Tome School also initially decided on a medieval setting for their play. But after a Google search for medieval costumes also turned up pirate costumes, the students immediately switched focus and decided to do a pirate theme instead, said Krista Moretz, a parent and the team’s coach.
The team eventually decided to set the play in 1650, during the golden age of pirates, and the story revolves around the search for the pirate captain’s lucky teddy, which has mysteriously disappeared, Moretz said.
Moretz has been coaching many of the students on her team for a few years now and said it’s been great to see how their creative problem-solving skills grow over time.
“These are skills they are going to need in school and in life,” she said.
The Perryville Middle School Destination Imagination team, which consists of Evan Miller, Logan Sawa, Andrew Wennersten, Mikey Olszewski, Abbie James, Sophie Schoenfeld and Josie Scramlin, is heading to the DI globals final.
The Bohemia Manor High School Destination Imagination team, which consists of Cleora Dolde, Erica Lemen, Grace Williams, Cassandra Lane, Kelly Little, Andrea Tokash and Cleo Schaumann (not pictured), is heading to the global finals in Knoxville next month.