Sulphur Springs Middle School had five teams score high enough at the East Texas Region Destination ImagiNation contest March 2 at Mesquite Poteet High School to advance to the state meet scheduled April 13 in Katy.
"There about 330 teams competing this year. Our regional is one of the three largest competitions world-wide," noted Johnny Wells, DI Inc. Board of Trustees vice chair, Texas DI Executive Board president, Texas Regional Advisory Board member and SSMS DI coordinator and team coach. Of the five teams, the structure and performance teams earned first place honors in their challenge categories, the hybrid and improv team finished second and the technical team earned third place at the regional meet.
The top-rated regional “performance” team consisting of Anden Hammack, Hannah Smith, Alice Lopez, Abby Diaz-Deleon, Owen Lee, Eli Sellers and Caitlyn Williams with SSMS art teacher Amber Nix as coach was presented the In DIsguise challenge: “With the right camouflage, you can become anyone or anything. Superheroes and chameleons change themselves every day! Who will you be when you take the mask away?” They had to present a team-created story about a character that uses a disguise, use only non-verbal theatrical techniques to present the story, and design and construct at least two masks that enhance the story. The team also received an award for outstanding creativity for "morphing mask.”
The first place “structure” team, made up of Charlie Maddux, Colten Armstrong, Hagen Hunt, Kasey Moore, Andrea Mora, Abbey Martin and Gillian Thomas and coach Michael Moore, answered the Twist-O-Rama challenge to do a special kind of twist: build a structure that can survive a serious hit while holding weight. The Twist-O- Rama team was required to build a structure made entirely of glue and materials the team chooses from a list, test the structure by placing weights on it and by subjecting it to torque-inducing impacts, produce a list of materials used in the structure and provide samples of the materials, produce a prop or costume made of all the materials used in the structure, and tell a story about something or someone that causes an unexpected twist or surprising change. They also received an award for outstanding creativity for "unique backdrop.”
Students on the second place "hybrid" team are Chase Charlton, Hannah Dixon, Allie Avery, Natalie Cruz, Celeste Leeds-Laliberte, Makenna Kager and Natalee Foster. Coaches are Audra Latimer and Jody Leeds. This team answered the Wind Visible science challenge: “Art can begin with a flick of the wrist, but can it ride on the wind? If you take on this challenge, you will imagine a character so light and airy that it could slip, slide and sail away!”
Hybrid teams were required to explore how the science of wind energy can be used to make kinetic art move, design and create kinetic art that moves during the presentation, create and present an original story that features an invisible visitor and integrate wind emergency research into the story.
The second place “improv” team was composed of Emily Johnson, Jamia Hall, Mandy Eckhardt, Dylan Joiner, DJ Hall, Johnathan Johnson and Brayden Fisher and coach Christine Thomas. The “Change in RealiTee!” challenge asks the team to pretend the world has undergone a dramatic change overnight and to make sense of the change using T-shirts and markers. They are tasked with creating a five-minute improve skit about life after the dramatic change and how the characters adapt to the change, learn about different communication techniques and integrate one into the skit, use only white T-shirts and washable markers to create all costumes and sets, and create a slogan from three randomly selected nouns. Ordinarily, only the top two teams advance to state. However, prior to state, Texas top DI officials look at all the results from across the state and select only a few teams who missed advancing by a narrow margin, select their top picks from among those and advance them through to the state contest.
Under that criteria, state DI officials pushed the SSMS third place “technical” team forward to the state meet. The team includes Leif Thomas, Nathan Frye, Jesse Allen, Kade Brown, Joshua Whitten-Edwards, Spencer Brewer and Gage Penson, with Chip Vaughn, Johnny Wells and Clay Hansford as coaches.
The technical challenge requires teams to decide if they will push it, play it safe or take a big risk with their cranked vehicles, while telling a story “In the Zone.” Each team has to present a story about the dangers faced by vehicles told from the point of view of one or more vehicles, design and build small vehicles that are able to reliably and accurately travel specific distances and use at lest three different power sources for the vehicles. DI Inc. is designed to teach creativity, teamwork and problem-solving to students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Student teams from all over the world solve mind-bending challenges; are tested to think on their feet, work as a team and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the challenges. Participants must unleash their imaginations and devise unique approaches to problem solving.
Teams work together for several months to create their solutions to their particular challenge, which can have theatrical, structural, improvisational, scientific or technical focus. Teams also learn and practice creative quick-thinking skills for the instant challenge portion of the program. Teams then present their challenge solutions at one of 16 regional tournaments during the months of February and March. Winning teams at each regional tournament advance to the state tournament in April. First and second place winners at the affiliate tournament advance to the global finals in late May.
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