Three Bethlehem Elementary School students are moving on to the Destination Imagination State Competition in Hampton, N.H. on March 28, after winning first place in their division at the Regional DI Tournament held at Berlin High School on March 14.
Team RAWR -- Sierra Knapp, Grade 5; Iris Wood, Grade 4; and Wyatt Wood, Gradev3 -- competed and earned first place in the Elementary Division of The Improv Games Challenge. The team prepared all school year, meeting weekly to practice with the help of team managers Crystal Knapp and David Wood, and parent volunteer Teresa Wood.
BES had a total of three teams enter the competition. In addition to Team RAWR, Team Sparkly Bananas, led by team managers Bryan Smith and Meglyn Lavoie, included students Declan Peters, Rowan Sheehan, Kobe Toms, Justin Shaw, Zoren Bolevic, Richie Knapp and Charlie Hibberd. Team Head Shredders, led by team manager Jennifer Donovan and parent volunteers Brenda Jette and Holly St. Pierre, included students Jacob Hepburn, Kiersten Doughty, Alyiah Laleme, Emerson Jette, Simon Pitre, and Lane Touhy.
Destination Imagination (DI) is a volunteer-led, educational nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire and equip kindergarten through university level students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders.
At the start of each DI season, teams choose one of seven Challenges in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Through creative and collaborative problem solving challenges, team members work together to compete in one of the seven open-ended challenges. Top-scoring teams advance to state or country tournaments. The top-level teams then go on to compete in Global Finals. Team RAWR will be one of five teams in their division vying for a spot in the Global Competition.
Every year, DI impacts more than 200,000 kids. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Kids from more than 48 states and 30 countries have participated in DI.
In 2011, researchers from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education conducted an independent research evaluation of the DI program. Among other findings, the researchers reported, "Students who participated in the activities and tournaments provided by DI outperformed comparable students who had not participated in DI on assessments measuring creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving."