BERGHOLZ — A group of fifth graders from John Gregg Elementary School celebrate after winning second place for their challenge in the state Destination Imagination competition.
Destination Imagination, or DI, is an educational program formerly known as Odyssey of the Mind in which K-12 teams work throughout the year to solve open-ended challenges and present their solutions in starting with the regional tournament, which was held in March. at Union Local High School in Morristown. Each challenge participant gains knowledge and experience in areas such as creative and critical thinking, project management, team building, conflict resolution, STEM, perseverance and mindset of completion.
Operation Escape, a team including Beckett Dopp, Connor Richardson, Nate Myers, Lillian Magby, Olivia Ferguson, Lindsey Howell and Daleanee Devore, won first place in the Region 17 competition and qualified for the state competition in Centerville.
They finished second in the technical challenge out of 18 teams at this event on April 2.
District DI coordinator Kelly Dopp said the team was given an assignment last fall to build electronic and non-electronic devices for a challenge and intertwine a story.
The students’ plot involved taking an artifact to a cursed jungle and overcoming obstacles with the devices they created.
Dopp said she was delighted with the team’s success and noted that they had worked hard to earn their achievement, and many had served for a very long time.
“The core group has been together since year one, and we’ve added members over the years,” she says.
Team members said it was amazing and they were very proud of their achievement, noting that they had already achieved second place last year, but were unable to attend a state competition due to the pandemic.
“It was pretty good. We were happy that we were able to go to the United States,” says Connor Richardson. “We already won first place in the regionals, but we couldn’t go because of COVID.”
“We were happy to win” added Lindsey Howell. “We all suggested things” Beckett Dopp said of their mission. “We got our mission and worked on it since October and went to regionals in March.”
They added that the best part was the teamwork, creativity and being with the people involved, plus they built things and gained the confidence to perform in front of others.
“We learned to work together” Daleanee Devore added.
“Sometimes a silly idea can go a long way and you can get an entire story,” concluded Richardson.
There are four DI teams in the district and the others include Peppa and George at John Gregg with Sydney Newburn and Willow Rhine, who placed first at regionals in the fine arts challenge; the Extemporaneous Edisons with Nate Kline, Nick Kline, Ronin Hartman, Mayelee Rawson, Silas Clifton and Payton Markert from Stanton Elementary who competed in the regional improv challenge; and John Gregg’s Edison Engineers with Alise Patel, Kosher Dopp, Madi Keister and Brody Champion, who participated in the science challenge.