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)
By 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 http://tinyurl.com/kjg59vb.
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)
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