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Local youngsters headed to global competition

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reating a skit imitating a Spanish tomato festival has earned a local school a bid to an international competition.

Seven third- and fourth-graders from Creekside Elementary School will compete in Destination Imagination’s global competition in Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend.

Teams must write, design and perform a skit using a piece of artwork as a backdrop and adding elements such as a thought bubble and comic strips.


Teams from 45 states and more than a dozen foreign countries will compete this weekend.

Imagination Destination is a group activity that students can participate in during elementary school that isn’t a sport, said Jessica Buckler, third-grade teacher at the Franklin school.

To reach the global competition, the Creekside team had to finish first or second in regional and state rounds. Along the way, they earned a Da Vinci Award, which usually goes to high school teams.

Creekside’s team remembered learning about a Spanish tomato-throwing festival and used a piece of artwork that showcased a Spanish landscape.

“They had to look at this piece of artwork and tell a story,” Buckler said.

Internet research helped them decide they wanted the king and queen of Spain in their skit. They crafted period costumes. And girls on the team built a device that allows a thought bubble to pop up during the skit.

To create the atmosphere of a crowd watching a parade, they made a small float.

“If they don’t tell you you can’t do it, then you can,” Buckler said.

She said the No. 1 trait a student needs to succeed at Destination Imagination is teamwork.

More than 40 students tried out to be on one of two Creekside teams. Fourteen were chosen. During tryouts, students were placed in teamwork scenarios. Those with good ideas and problem-solving skills and who listened to others were chosen.

While teamwork is needed for the skit, it also is on display during another part of the competition.

Students are put in a room and asked to solve a problem, such as making a balloon stay on a tower of straws and Post-it notes. Teams had to figure out how to build the tower in a way that wouldn’t disturb the balloon.

“They literally have minutes to plan and execute the whole problem,” Buckler said.

Creekside Principal Mark Heiden learned about the program at a school where he used to work. He suggested his school take part.

But this wasn’t the first time a district school participated in Destination Imagination. Teams from Northwood Elementary School made it to the global finals.

Creekside’s teams have practiced at least twice a week since December. They run through the skit and try to re-create problems they can solve in minutes.

“It is a lot of work, and we do feel the stress at times; but it is so exciting,” Buckler said.

Fourth-grader Ashlynn Myers said, “We don’t care if we get last place, it’s an honor to go.”

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