Sequim Gazette staff
After winning honors for creativity, teamwork and problem-solving in the Olympic Regional and Washington State tournaments, Sequim’s WSWNOT team (“What Should We Name Our Team”) have earned the right to travel to Destination Imagination’s Global Finals in Tennessee, the largest creative thinking and problem-solving competition in the world.
The WSWNOTs, a team of seven students from both the Olympic Peninsula Academy and Sequim Middle School, tied for first place in the middle school level Technical Challenge at the Washington State tournament held in Wenatchee on April 6.
They also were awarded the state tournament’s Da Vinci Award for their creativity in solving the Technical Challenge.
WSWNOT team members will be among more than 8,000 students representing 1,250 teams coming from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 13 countries to advance to Global Finals held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. More than 15,000 people attend the Global Finals to celebrate creativity and have fun.
“Destination Imagination has been a great way to continue friendships with kids who have gone to other schools,” said WSWNOT team member Porter Funston.
This year the Technical Challenge, called “In The Zone,” requires each team to design and build up to 10 small vehicles, of a limited dimension with at least three different propulsion systems, that need to travel specific distances reliably to various zones to earn points.
While the vehicles are busy earning points, each team must simultaneously present an original skit that tells a story about the dangers faced by the vehicles, told from the point of view of one or more vehicles. To do that, the WSWNOTs built props, created costumes and wrote and performed a script with music and lyrics.
To ramp up the pressure, each team must complete its solution to the Technical Challenge within eight minutes.
“Destination Imagination is an amazing program that gives kids an opportunity to express their abilities and talents in a creative way,” said WSWNOT team member Damon Little.
“It’s been an incredible experience watching these kids stretch and grow working on this challenge,” WSWNOT team co-coach Kevin Scott said. “Every one of them has pushed themselves to new levels to be able to help their team compete.”
Destination Imagination’s Technical Challenge is one of seven open-ended challenges that require young people to apply a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, in addition to improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation and teamwork.
The Destination Imagination program allows students from kindergarten to college to learn and experience the creative process and apply their skills in challenges at a regional, state and national/international levels.
Other 2013 Destination Imagination challenges have themes that are focused on science, fine arts, improvisational, structural, service learning and early learning.
After seven months of training and teamwork, Destination Imagination’s Sequim WSWNOTs earned the honor to be one of a select number of teams representing Washington at the Global Finals.
“Destination Imagination is a wonderful experience, definitely worth the months of work and planning,” said WSWNOT team member Morgana Fergusson.
Team member Shayli Schuman added, “Destination Imagination’s been a great opportunity to show me ways to learn new ideas and the chance to interact with kids from all over the world.”