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Five teams reach D-I state event

  • Naomi Wight, left, of Lyndeborough, Madison Crawford and Connor Crawford, both of Wilton, members of one of Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School's competative teams to participate in a regional Destination Imagination competition in Swanzey on Saturday, prepare to begin their presentation.

Area schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels gave their imaginations free rein during a regional Destination Imagination Competition in Swanzey this Saturday, and the Monadnock region came off well, with five of the eight teams moving on to the state competition.

Jaffrey-Rindge, Wilton-Lyndeborough and Mascenic school districts were all represented on Saturday.

One challenge, called “Wind Visible,” charged students with creating a scenario that integrated wind energy facts while creating a piece of kinetic art that would move when powered by the wind.

Helen Stone, the team coach for Jaffrey Grade School, whose team participated in Wind Visible, said that she had a group of mostly new children this year, and was thrilled they’d managed to pull of a performance that sent them to the state competition.

“They did great,” said Stone in an interview Monday. “This is the best I’ve seen them work. They worked all the kinks and were ready and prepared for the competition.”

Highbridge Hill Elementary School also competed in Wind Visible. The team, made up of seven third and fourth graders, centered their performance around a group of teenagers studying for a science exam in a diner when the power goes out, according to the team coach, Annette Leel. Their performance landed them first place in their category.

Leel said that the Destination Imagination program is new at Highbridge Hill, having recently started with the Rising Star program, which is a noncompetitive level of Destination Imagination. Most of her students had experience with that program before moving on to their current level.

“Everybody knows anything that can go wrong will go wrong, but they were flawless. They blew it away,” said Leel in an interview Monday. “The competition is tougher at states, but it’s nice going in at first place.”

Nicolle Tenters, the coach for Rindge Memorial School, said this is the first time in 10 years the school has had a competition-level team. And with this being her first year as a coach, and having all 16 members of the team be first-time competitors, it’s been a learning experience for them all, she said.

The Rindge Memorial Team did a “In Disguise” challenge, where students have to get across a concept without written or oral language.

“It’s been wonderful watching them grow,” said Tenters. “It feels awesome and unexpected to get to go to states. The level of competition will be increased, and I think the kids have a renewed sense of purpose and expectation.”

Also competing in the In Disguise challenge at the high school level was one of Conant’s two teams, both of which made it to the state competition. “Trying to keep these teens quiet for six minutes is a task,” joked team coach Laurie Connolly. The team chose a recognizable story line, telling the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, using masks to depict the characters. This particular team, made up of six juniors, has been together as a Destination Imagination team for several years already, and has competed at the global level, said Connolly.

“They’re a very hardworking group and they epitomize what D-I is all about, creative problem solving to the max, and just a great group of friends,” she said.

Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District and Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School also fielded competitive teams, though neither were selected to move on to the next level.

“It’s process not product in Destination Imagination,” said Jennifer Wight, one of the Wilton-Lyndeborough coaches. “They all had a great time and learned a lot, especially the little ones, and that’s what’s important.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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