D-I teams place at global meet
Students find new outlook, friends at global competition in Knoxville, Tenn.
Members of the three Jaffrey-Rindge School District Destination Imagination teams pose for a photo before the closing ceremony of the Destination Imagination global competition held from Wednesday to Saturday last week in Knoxville, Tenn. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Three teams from the Jaffrey-Rindge School District returned home Sunday night from competing in the Destination Imagination global competition in Knoxville, Tenn.,, after each qualifying at the New Hampshire D-I state competition in Salem last month.
Two teams from Conant High School made the trip after finishing in the top two in respective challenges at the state competition on April 6 , and the Rindge Memorial School team went with them after a second-place finish in a “In Disguise” fine arts challenge.
At globals, which took place May 22 to 25, one of Conant’s teams, coached by region coordinator Robin Whitney, finished 17th at the global competition in the high school and college level for the “Wind Visible” science competition.
Two of Whitney’s five team members have been to global’s before, while Whitney has made the trip 14 times in her 15 years of coaching.
She said in a phone interview Wednesday that during the first day at Knoxville her team got to spend time with kids from Romania and China.
“Where else can you get that type of experience?” Whitney said. “Even the parents of children said it was the trip of a lifetime for them to watch their kids.”
The second team from Conant High School coached by Lori Connolly tied for 16th in the “In Disguise” fine arts challenge, in which teams perform creative skits trying to convey a message without speaking or using any language whatsoever.
Connolly said in a phone interview Wednesday that her team has been to global’s several times, and for her the proudest moment, as both a coach and a parent of a high school team member, was seeing the two high school teams escort the elementary team into the opening ceremony.
“For my team to be there for the elementary schoolers during the opening ceremony was just Jaffrey-Rindge at its finest,” Connolly said. “To see that camaraderie as a coach was one of the proudest moments.”
Nicolle Tenters co-coaches the Rindge Memorial School elementary team with Jen McCall. Tenters said in a phone interview Tuesday that all of the kids had a great time and great first experience at the global competition, and for some of them it was even their first time on a plane.
“It was phenomenal,” Tenters said. “The kids had a great time and worked very hard all the way up until the competition.”
Rindge Memorial placed 20th out of 78 teams in the “In Disguise” challenge elementary bracket. Tenters said placing 20th out of 78 teams was a strong showing.
“I was thrilled with [the placement], and the kids were happy with it as well,” Tenters said.
Elyse Rodgers and Kayla Whitcomb, two members of the Rindge Memorial School team, said in phone interviews Tuesday that their trip with the Destination Imagination team was an incredible experience, but now they have to wait a whole year until the competition starts up again.
“I felt kind of sad the team would be breaking up,” Rodgers, age 10, said . “The fifth graders won’t be back, but I’m excited for it to start up again next year.”
Whitcomb celebrated her 11th birthday while on the trip, and met a student from Poland during the competition.
One of the best parts of the competition, Tenters said, didn’t come during the actual challenges. She said that each team brought pins from their state or country to the competition, and in their down time students traded pins with other competitors. Students overcame language barriers in order to trade pins with one another from their respective countries, Tenters said.
“I got some pins from Guatemala and Mexico,” Whitcomb said. “[The trip] was really fun. ... I’m going to do it again next year.”
On the way home from the global competition, Tenters said she asked her kids on a scale of one to 10 how much they enjoyed the trip. One member answered with a “nine.” The next said a “9.9.”
Both Whitney and Connolly had a message to convey upon returning from the competition Sunday night. They said the trip to globals wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support of the public. The three teams collectively raised over $12,000 in various fundraisers, including car washes, bake sales, yard sales and raffles. Connolly said, “I just want to thank the community for allowing these three teams to experience what they experienced.”