Two Sulphur Springs teams earn trip to State Destination Imagination contest

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Mar. 12, 2007 - Two teams from Sulphur Springs earned the right to compete at the State Destination Imagination competition April 13-14 at the University of Texas in Dallas by placing first in their competition March 3.

Overall, Hopkins County had 11 teams competing in the meet. Two others just missed advancing to the state meet, while two teams placed third, two fourth and one fifth. This year’s contest was also especially notable as it marked the first time we’ve had a home school group compete and that Como-Pickton has competed in DI.

Water Oak Elementary and Sulphur Springs Middle School each had a team advance from the East Texas Region Destination Imagination Contest held March 3 at Poteet High School in Mesquite to the state meet by placing first in their category.

The first place CSI:DI team from Sulphur Springs Middle School included Megan Salters, Megan Massey, Colby Carter, Jessica Cowley, Holli Wilson, Jarred Cowley and Brooke Lancaster.

The first place Super Star DItectives team from Water Oak swept the elementary division with the highest scores in all three categories: instant challenge, the central challenge and the side trips. This marks the second consecutive year team members have worked and advanced to the state contest. The group, consisting of first through fourth graders Autumn Bennett, Jaye Doughtie, Matthew Calhoun, Mandy Eckhardt, Madeline Massey and Carly Parker even beat out some fifth graders for first place spot.

�At last year�s state level competition, they came in third, barely missing out on advancing to global finals in Tennessee. They�ve worked extremely hard and work well together, said Angie Blount.�

Coaches for the Water Oak Super Star DItectives team were Laura Doughtie and Clary Parker.

They build an over head projector from household items for their technical device and 40 percent of their score, and based their theatrical performance which accounted for 60 percent of their score on a mystery involving the use of color, shadow and illumination.

While two Hopkins County school groups didn’t take top honors each was recognized for their finish in the event. Their coaches also praised each youngster’s participation and group efforts since it was the first time for either the Como-Pickton Jr. High and the area home school teams have ever competed in the Destination Imagination contest.

The local home school group composed of 9-year-olds Jacey Mitchell, Marcy Fisher, Olivia Pruiett and Laura Graham, and 11-year-olds Brady Fisher, Mason Pruiett and Sam Gray had a respectable second place finish. “This was a huge group effort. Getting home school groups together is tricky because they’re so mobile and flexible. We were the only home school team. They all did a lot of work. We were in the same competition as the Water Oak Elementary D Level, the CSI-DI,” said Kris Mitchell, mother of Jacey Mitchell and co-coach with parents Cindy Graham, Cathy Gray, Anna Pruiett and Susan Fisher. 

The home school group performed a funny Alaskan skit, using light jokes in their performance of an Alaskan wedding with a missing ring, two spies and the Aurora Borealis. 

�The kids did all the work. They came up with ideas that were so beyond grown ups. For 9- to 11-year-olds that were all real practical. It was something to see them come up with the ideas,� Mitchell said.

The Como-Pickton team marked the school’s first time to compete in DI contest. Team coach Kim screws commended sixth graders Justin Simmons and Aaron Screws, seventh grader Thuong Bui and eighth grader Austin Baxley for their fifth place finish in the junior high CarDIology contest.

�This was Como-Pickton�s first year. We didn�t have a clue when we started. They had to make a structure out of playing cards ... It held 225 pounds. It did really good. The kids had to do everything they did a skit, making all the props and costumes. They were very busy. They started at the end of January and competed on March 3. They built several structures and tested them until they came up with this structure. With DI they had to work together and become a team. It�s about team building,� said Kim Screws,� co-coach with Dow Bui.

They had to come up with a skit showing the affect cards have on people, either real or imagined. They C-P team “created” a robot, which required cards be inserted into its back, with the affect being professional choices people made including stealing, with the end result a moral and character realization.

�They did a wonderful job. We are pleased with fifth. We worked just about every night, especially the last two weeks before. They really did good. It was amazing to just watch and see their minds work, to see the different personalities interact,� said Screws.

Water Oak’s CarDIology team came in second at the DI meet, one place shy of qualifying for the state meet. The second place team consisted of Drew Forsman, Andrew Allen, Ridge Jisha, Caroline Berning, Sarah Berning, Kylie Wittmer and Brooke Pirrone. Shannon Forsman and Kent Jisha were the coaches for that team.

The SSMS Round About Courage team not only received a respectable third place finish, but also earned the prestigious DaVinci Award. The team consisted of Zach Moore, Rachael Williams, Emily Petty, Kimberly Cressman, Erin Gray and Colton Morrow.

Also placing third was the SSMS CarDIology team of Brady Burney, Taryn Smith, Ashleigh Wallace, Hannah McCampbell, Jacob Rost, Kasey Blezinger and Leah Hayes.

SSMS had two teams which placed fourth, the DIrect Flight team consisting of Tanner Bolton, Arthur Harbin, Justin Mathews, Haley Moore, Courtne Anderson, Emily Mason and Dalton Rutherford and the switching traDitions team consisting of Connie Gaddis, Sarah Forsman, Sami Stoltenberg, Grace Anderson, Cydnee Devereaux, Lisa Smith and Nathan Grafton.

Water Oak Elementary also had other teams that compete at DI. The Round About Courage team consisted of students Jesse Allen, Brennan Murray, Reese Walker, Sydney Odell, Jessye Castro and Gracie Horton, and coaches Fran Castro and Vickie Allen.

Younger students competing in the Rising Stars category included Lauren Arnecke, Allie Price, Eli Sellers, Colton Price, Alex Lord, Trenton Carr, Chase Crouch, Presli Cummings, Maci Freeman, Garrett Hanna, Kyle Wittmer, Ben Rose, Johnathan Calhoun, Brennon Seymore, Clay Kilmer, Cameron Horton, Parker Cummings and Imani Taylor.

� More than 170 teams consisting of up to seven students each competed at the regional meet. Teams placing first in the East Texas Region DI contest at Poteet High School in Mesquite will compete March 13-14 at the state contest at the University of Texas in Dallas. The students earning top honors at the state meet will advance to the global finals at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville at the end of May.

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