7 teams head to state Destination ImagiNation competitionPublished 7:39am Sunday, March 25, 2012
In only its first year in Albert Lea Area Schools, seven of the district’s 10 Destination ImagiNation teams will head to the state competition.
While the problem-solving competition Destination ImagiNation has been around nationally since 1999 (and before that as Odyssey of the Mind), this was the first year Albert Lea offered it to students. It’s an extracurricular program that recommends teachers nominate top students work on creative and critical thinking as teams.
Sonya Zieske, the district’s gifted and talented development coordinator, is excited the district can offer this opportunity for its students.
“We have incredibly talented students in our district,” Zieske said. “Our challenge is to offer opportunities for them to rise to new levels of rigor and commitment, not only in their test scores, academics and creativity, but ultimately in their life goals.”
Nine of the district’s teams competed at a regional competition in Rochester on March 17. The state competition will be at Jackson Middle School and Champlin Park High School on April 14. The public is invited to attend.
Destination ImagiNation is for all ages from kindergarten through the college level. Albert Lea’s teams come from all schools including two from Sibley Elementary School, one from Halverson Elementary School, one from Hawthorne Elementary School, three from Lakeview Elementary School, two from Southwest Middle School and one from Albert Lea High School.
All leaders have a team manager who isn’t allowed to actively participate in the planning for competitions. It’s all up to the students to work toward the goal.
“Our team managers have worked incredibly hard,” Zieske said.
Teams are told in advance what the competitions will be in categories like technical, scientific, fine arts, improvisational, structural, Rising Stars or projectOUTREACH. From Albert Lea, three teams chose the fine arts competition, three chose the improvisational competition and four chose the structural competition.
For improvisational, students had to research news stories on their own and use cooperative human scenery and props to create an improv skit that related two news stories. For structural, students had to design, build and test a structure made of wood and glue that would have to hold weight. For fine arts, students presented a skit of a movie trailer that had to involved characters from two nations, a soundtrack and a special effect.
The high school team chose fine arts and did a movie trailer portraying the clash of immigrant workers and the Ku Klux Klan in California in the 1920s. For their presentation they won state berth and a Da Vinci Award at the competition in Rochester.
“It’s really exciting,” Zieske said. “I was so proud of them.”
Zieske said that not only are team managers and parents excited about the program but the students are, too. She said team managers reported that students worked well together solving problems and were supportive of each other at the competition.
While the teams did receive some funding from the district, donations from Mayo Clinic Healthy System in Albert Lea and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services helped the teams compete at the regional tournament.