Destination Imagination goes global

SSMS 'Hit or Myth!' team headed to Knoxville

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

April 20, 2008 - Sulphur Springs Middle School will once again be sending a team to the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn.

The SSMS "Hit or Myth!" team advanced to the global finals by taking first place honors in their category at the state DI tournament held in Round Rock April 4-5.

The team is a group of students ranging from sixth through eighth grade who wowed the judges with their original story telling how they disproved the folk tale "The Princess and the Pea" by using a mannequin and sensory pads.

The first rate team which will compete at the May 21-24 global finals includes eighth graders Holli Wilson, Sarah Forsman, Mallory White and Samantha Weeks; seventh grader Jarred Cowley; and sixth graders Reilly Hale and Jesse Morrill.

In Hit or Myth competition, students utilize science, theater arts, research, team work and international studies to either prove or dis-prove a myth, urban legend or folk tale. The story had to be set in a nation other that the U.S., investigate facts of the myth and present results as part of the story. They also had to create a "Myth-Ecol Replica" from their chosen nation using recycled materials, as well as create two "side trips" and integrate them into the presentation. Of course the scientific method is used in the creative problem solving process.

Also lauded at the state DI meet was the middle school's "SWITCH! Team." While the team's fourth place finish wasn't quite high enough to garner an appearance at the global contest, the students came home with the prestigious DaVinci Award for outstanding creativity.

"The judge said that the team 'took creativity to new level' in the design of their costumes and props," Holli Wilson and Rebecca Sehnert wrote in a school news of SWITCH!'s experience at the state meet.

Making up the SWITCH! Team were Rebecca Sehnert, Hannah McCampbell, Ashleigh Wallace, Kyle Smith, Macie McIllwain, Jacob Rost and Josh Harmon. The SWITCH! structure team advanced to the state meet by earning first place at the regional DI meet held in Mesquite in March.

In the SWITCH! competition, students utilized architectural design, structural engineering, construction, research, innovation and design process, mathematics, theater arts and team work to creatively carry out their challenge. They were required to design and build a structure made completely of wood and glue, test it for strength by stacking weights on it in two different orientations. After one weight is removed, the students then place the structure on a different side for the second test. They had to research a manufacture or switch item that can serve more than one purpose, as well as create and present a story demonstrating two different purposes for the switch item. They had to also have a "freeze-frame" scene as part of the story during "stop time," and create and integrate two side trips into the presentation.

"Both teams performed well and earned high recognition. The teams have been working for many moths to perfect their unique solutions," Wilson and Sehnert noted.

Another Sulphur Springs school also went to the state contest after taking top honors at the regional meet. Water Oak Elementary's "DI've Got a Secret" team consisted consisted of only five members from grades three through five, included only five members --two shy of the allowable seven. The Water Oak Elementary team coached by Laura Doughtie and Clary Parker included Matthew Calhoun, Carli Parker, Caroline Berning, Jaye Doughtie, Mandy Eckhardt. Carli Parker, Mandy Eckhardt, Jaye Doughtie and Matthew Calhoun have competed together in DI for the last three years, and have advanced to the state contest.

DI've Got a Secret! focuses on play writing; design, construction, costumes and set pieces in theater arts; optical physics; and team work. They were required to create and put on a theatrical performance of an original story about a secret. A masquerade character has to be incorporated, appearing as one thing but revealed to be another. It had to incorporate a team-created optical illusion, have three original set pieces connect to for a new set piece or backdrop. The presentation had to also include two side trips.

While their play about dementia and the secret of youth was well received at the state contest, it did not score high enough to advance to the global finals, according to included the required optical illusion, masquerade character and a secret.

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