A kid wearing half of a horse costume skids out of the way of a father carrying a refrigerator-sized box brimming with confetti; a boy in rainbow-striped socks sits patiently while his friend paints a black eye on his face with a stubby eyeliner; a fourth-grade girl wearing a Bogart-inspired trench coat and fedora questions a classmate wearing a 1920s flapper-style dress.
Out of context, the halls of North Point High School look like a scene stolen from a fever dream. But realize the Destination Imagination Southern Regional Tournament is being held and everything starts to make sense.
More than 800 students in elementary through high school making up 148 teams participated in the tournament Saturday, tackled one of eight challenges, along with the Instant Challenges held across the street at Theodore G. Davis Middle School. In addition to public school students, those in private schools took part too.
Destination Imagination is an academic competition that calls on students to employ teamwork, problem solving and creative solutions to complete tasks. The teams that placed in the regional competition advance to states, which will be held April 9 at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Teams that place in first-, second- and third-place at the state level will go to globals in Knoxville, Tenn.
Students have to “think on the spot,” said Joyce Campbell, an elementary gifted resource teacher who is the regional director for DI. Campbell she has heard from students who use DI lessons in their lives. “They use the skills they learned in DI all the time,” she said. “It is problem solving at its best.”
The Nuclear Stars from William B. Wade Elementary School has been working on The Meme Event service learning challenge since October. The team needed to use the creative process to identify, design, plan and carry out a community service project. The Wade team called its meme “Save Some Pets, You’re the Best,” and collected monetary donations and supplies from the Humane Society of Charles County’s wish list for the organization.
“I like imagining stuff,” said Savonna Smyser, a fourth grader who likes to build things. “I joined DI to have fun and it’s a great way to make new friends. If you like to build, this is where to start and be.” The group set a goal of collecting at least one of each of the items on the humane society’s wish list and while the team fell short of that aim, it collected $101.56, more than double its $50 goal.
The Get a Clue fine arts challenge called on students to stage a mystery story set in an era before 1990. Eva Turner Elementary School’s Royal Rebels set their presentation during the Great Depression. Because teachers, parents and sponsors can’t help in the challenge, gathering historical background falls on the shoulders of team members. “They researched interesting moments in history before 1990,” said Turner teacher Christina Greer, who along with teacher Kim Treacy, sponsors the Royal Rebels. The team learned that money was extremely tight throughout the 1930s, so a mystery centering around missing money seemed like the way to go.
Destination Imagination “helps them build their creativity,” Greer said. “And for some, it helps them overcome their shyness.” It also requires dedication. The team meets afterschool and leading up to the tournament, the members were meeting every day, Greer said.
Teachers Judy Hume and Maurita Edwards have been involved with DI for 10 years and 23 years, respectively. The challenges promote teamwork, social skills and creativity, Hume said. “They use some out of the box thinking that is truly amazing,” Edwards said.
“You never know what you’re going to see,” Hume said.
The following Charles County teams will advance to the state level after placing at the regional tournament.
Pace of Change
- Mitchell Extreme Bulldogs, first place,
- Higdon Wolf Pack, second place,
- SMCA 4th Grade Team A, third place,
- SMCA The Slingshots, fourth place (tie), and
- Craik Technical Tiger Lilies, fourth place.
- Davis T.O.T., first place,
- Stoddert Warriors, second place and
- SMCA Teen Takeover, third place.
- Lackey/Northpoint DI Team, first place, and
- North Point Umm What!?!?!, second place.
In Plain Sight
- Matula DI Warriors, first place,
- St. Peter’s Astro Squad, second place,
- Mudd The Camo-Hunters, third place and
- Craik White Owls, fourth place.
- Henson The Scientific Seven, first place,
- Davis D.I. Vergent’s, second place,
- Stoddert DIvine Comedians, third place and
- Hanson Now You See Me, fourth place.
- La Plata Lil’ Ppl “Hate” Science, first place.
Get A Clue
- Parks Sly Spies, first place,
- Craik Royal Smarties, second place,
- Higdon Brainiacs, third place (tie) and
- Malcolm AnctPatrcnsofAwsme, third place.
- Somers DI-licious, first place,
- Davis/Henson Half N’1/2, second place,
- Smallwood Little Rascals, third place and
- SMB The Things, fourth place.
- Westlake High School, first place.
- Martin D-Eye Watching You, first place,
- Wade Allstars, second place,
- Turner Traveling Stars, third place and
- Mitchell Mindless Chickens, fourth place.
- Henson Dominators, first place,
- Stoddert Sky’s the Limit, second place,
- Smallwood #ImprovSquad, third place and
- Smallwood Emojis, fourth place.
- La Plata Scratch N Sniff, first place,
- North Point MD.LC DI’INCEPTION, second place,
- North Point/Westlake DITWACA, third place and
- North Point of No Return Will Ram You, fourth place.
- St. Peter’s Engineer Pioneers, first place,
- Mt. Hope The DI Building Beavers, second place,
- Ryon Team Hamilton, third place and
- Berry Musical Factory, fourth place.
- St. Peter’s Dynamic Imaginators, first place.
The Meme Event
- Diggs TBFPSP, first place,
- Malcolm 7 Ugly Sweaters, second place (tie),
- Mudd DI Kids That Kare, second place and
- St. Peter’s Thunderbolts, third place.
- St. Peter’s Lightning Bolts, first place and
- SMB The Cheesy Ones, second place.
- North Point DI-B-SM3AC, first place.
The Renaissance Award is given for exceptional skill in the areas of engineering, design, or performance. This award went to the Berry Thinking Explorers team and the Mitchell Extreme Bulldogs team.
The DaVinci Award is given for exceptional creativity, a unique approach to the problem and/or risk taking. This award went to the Mt. Hope DI Building Beavers team and the Henson The Scientific Seven team.
The Spirit of DI Award is given for exceptional spirit, teamwork, volunteerism and sportsmanship. This award went to the SMCA Team A and Shannon Moskowitz-Wade.
The Torch Bearer Award is given to teams whose solutions have had extraordinary impact in and beyond their local communities. This award went to the Diggs TBFPSP team.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.