In Gilmanton, Destination Imagination teams advance to state

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Destination Imagination team members from Gilmanton School (from left) Jackson Reed, Cassidy Glaude, Kelton Wilson, David Boyajian and Julie Pugh display the props to their skit which won them a berth at the state tournament in Bedford on April 1. Wilson is holding their certificate from the regional tournament, where they placed first. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)



GILMANTON — Two teams from Gilmanton School placed first at a regional tournament for Destination Imagination, a national academic challenge that emphasizes creativity and curiosity.
The two teams, one at the elementary level and the second at the middle school level, won in their categories at regional competition in Goffstown on Sunday, March 19. They will advance to a state tournament in Bedford on Saturday, April 1.
A third team from Gilmanton School, for kindergarten through second grade, also competed at regionals, which featured 91 teams and more than 650 students.
For 18 years, the Destination Imagination program — formerly known as Odyssey of the Mind — has challenged students to showcase their technical and creative skills.
In Gilmanton, the elementary team, The Fantastic Five, consisted of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. They developed a skit for the "Show & Tech" competition. "Show & Tech" requires teams to create a live show with an opening act and a headlining act to be performed on a homemade, movable stage, employing technical effects.
Judy Wilson, Destination Imagination coordinator for Gilmanton School, said the regional champion elementary team crafted a story centered around Linda's Diner, with a backstory of a meat loaf recipe thief.
The script is full of unexpected twists, guided by the minds of the students. A performer tells knock-knock jokes to start the show, and the headlining act involves two girls, playing twins, who showcase their hula hooping skills, with one heckling the other. A policeman in a cop car pursues the meat loaf thief, rounding out the show's frenetic storyline. In competition, the team must assemble their stage and props, and then perform their skit, all within eight minutes.
Team members Kelton Wilson, Jackson Reed, David Boyajian, Cassidy Glaude and Julie Pugh provided outtakes from the show during a recent rehearsal.
Boyajian unveiled his skills at improv, which helped the team win extra points at regionals in Goffstown. Explaining their prop-building approach, Reed said, "Tape was a major material that we were using."
Inspiration came from unexpected sources. Reed said his dog sheds fur, which caused dog hair to be included among the props.
Team manager Kendra Reed, who provided guidance with fellow parent Katie Wilson, said, "They created the whole play, they wrote the script, they handmade all of the props and the scenery, out of all kinds of found objects."
For example, cardboard boxes formed an early version of the police car, although the development grew more refined.
"We can't supply any ideas, we can't supply any solutions. If there's a problem, they have to work through it themselves," Kendra Reed said.
Judy Wilson said, "There's no adult interference whatsoever, which is torture for the adults."
In the New Hampshire Destination Imagination competition, Lakes Region teams to advance to state include Gilmanton School, elementary team, The Fantastic Five, and middle school team, Spaghetti and the Meatballs; Laconia Middle School, Project EXTRA; Moultonborough Central School, Big Brain Boys and Acting Genius; and Shaker Regional, Omega. For full results of regionals, visit


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Destination Imagination team members from Gilmanton School (from left) Jackson Reed, Kelton Wilson, David Boyajian, Cassidy Glaude (back) and Julie Pugh show off their mascot stance, "the dab." (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)

High winds in recent snowstorm explained by National Weather Service


MOULTONBOROUGH — The high winds that knocked pine trees over like match sticks on March 14 likely resulted from conditions associated with the nearby Ossipee Mountains, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The wind blew trees into power lines in a swath from Multonborough to Tuftonboro, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power.

Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Gray, Maine, said a low pressure area hundreds of miles across generated winds as strong as 100 mph at 4,000 feet as a late-season nor'easter moved through the region and also produced blizzard conditions, including more than a foot-and-a-half of snow in some areas.

Moultonborough and Tuftonboro are close to the Ossipee Mountains, which rise to 2,990 feet at Mount Shaw and are the remnants of an ancient volcano.

Curtis said winds can be more pronounced when they come over the edge of a mountain, something that is seen frequently in the Rockies and is known as a "downslope event."  Downslope winds in the lee of major mountains barriers can approach hurricane strength.

The weather service measured wind speeds of more than 50 mph before power outages knocked out many monitoring stations. Unofficial wind measurements of more than 60 mph were also reported.

Pine trees are taller than many other trees and are known to have relatively shallow roots, making them potentially more vulnerable in high winds.

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative spokesman Seth Wheeler said 15,000 of its customers lost power at the peak of the storm.  

"Untold numbers of large white pine trees were toppled in the towns of Moultonborough, Center Harbor, Sandwich and Tuftonboro," he said.

"Falling trees blocked roads and left many areas inaccessible for days. The damage to NHEC's electrical distribution system was extreme in spots. The day after the storm passed, line crews were confronted by miles of wire on the ground and more than 100 broken poles."

In order to make repairs, crews were sent 117 poles, 75 8-foot cross arms, 600 insulators, 50 transformers and 10,000 feet of wire.


School year to end on June 16

LACONIA — Students can look forward to June 16 as the day when school will be out for the summer.

They will actually only have to put in a half day on that Friday.

The high school's senior graduation will be on June 9.

Teachers will have an additional week to work after students leave. Their final day before their summer break will be June 23.

The Laconia School Board decided on the dates in its meeting Tuesday night.

– Rick Green