Destination Imagination have the opportunity to shine this year at the Global competition which will take place in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Destination Imagination team name is “It’s F’abaling,” and the members describe themselves as “a team that get together and uses combined skills for creative problem solving.”
The team consists of Esebia Smith, Katherine Ayala, Raquel Sanchez, Marial Sanchez, Gaby Escobar Salanic, and Rian Krueger, and program coordinators, Bobbie Matthews and Colleen Jensen.
The team complete challenges that address issues in the world.
“All of the challenges are aligned with the common core standards and STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art, and Maths)” Matthews explained.
“We do a lot of creative thinking, outside the box, we do challenges that are acting, engineering, and scientific, and for all of them we have to do a performance of the problem to be solved,” Maria explained. “This year’s challenge is ‘Ready, willing, and able,’ which addresses a real world problem. We use a skit to explain how we address the problem of racism and diversity acceptance.”
Esebia added, “During lunch the tables were divided between cultures and statuses, it seemed as though not many people knew each other throughout the school so we tried to unite as one.”
In Destination Imagination, the students are in charge of what is done, everything they do is their work and ideas.
“What they have accomplished, the practicing of the skit, the writing, the critiquing — everything is theirs,” Jensen said, “They get to own it.”
The students are earning valuable life skills through the challenges and building confidence in themselves and their ability to complete difficult tasks.
“The kids’ ability to communicate and represent themselves well in the community has developed through this program,” Matthews said.
The team had many positive things to say about their experiences in Destination Imagination.
“When I would do presentations I would be really shy, but when I came to Destination Imagination, I got used to going up and speaking in front of people,” Esebia said.
“It helped me with working with others in general,” Katherine said. “In school, I didn’t like sharing ideas because of what they might think, but here it helps you develop the skills to not be afraid to be heard, and express your ideas.”
“Learning how to budget money, we have a limited amount and have to make everything last,” Raquel said.
“Something I think we learned is time management, especially in the skit,” Maria added. “Making sure we have time to go over our lines and to have enough time to include everything in it.”
The team went through the South East Regional Tournament which was held at Tri-Valley, then they competed at the state level in Pierre, where they placed first to qualify to go on to globals.
“The really cool thing is from regional to state, this team placed second at regional, and the team that they lost to at regions, they beat at state.” Matthews said.
It will cost about $9,000, with the kids contributing about half of the cost and holding fundraisers for the rest.
“It’s done on donations and grants,” Matthews said.
United Way is a huge sponsor for the program, and the team has qualified for that grant the past couple years. Other sponsors are Huron Youth Leadership, the Huron Community Foundation, and Dakota Provisions.
“Many businesses and the community have been phenomenal in supporting us,” Jensen said.
“We have qualified for a lot of grants this year, the first year we qualified for a $380 grant, it was a shoestring budget that year.” Matthews said. There will be a dinner fundraiser hosted soon, she said.
“If the community would like to come out and support us, that would be excellent,” said Matthews. The details are not yet finalized but will be upcoming soon.
Destination Imagination is always looking for people from the community who are interested to lend a hand and volunteer.
“The program is all volunteer driven and if we don’t have volunteers to help run the program, then it’s all we have time to do,” Mathews said.
The team expressed gratitude for the opportunity they have been given.
“We would like to thank Colleen Jensen, Bobbie Matthews, and our parents for being supportive, patient with us, and understanding.”
“Thank you to principal, Mike Taplett and Laura Willemssen, assistant pricinpal, for endorsing the program from the very beginning.” Matthews and Jesnsen are very grateful for all of the support the program has been shown, “I’d like to thank the parents also, we take a lot of their time as it gets closer to competition and the parents are wonderful, they bring them meals and snacks, and transport to tournaments, the support is phenomenal.”