Gifted and talented youngsters from 34 schools gathered again at Wooster Elementary school to meet the challenges offered by Destination Imagination. Fifty-seven teams from Texarkana to Greenbrier were represented. Greenbrier had 15 teams in all age categories, from the smallest Kindergarten through second grade (called the Rising Stars) to high school. Since this was not an actual tournament, but just a "Creativity Day," national points were not awarded, and it was good practice. Many of the high school teams were acting as helpers, along with about 75 parents.
Robin Clark, Wooster assistant principal and Gifted and Talented coordinator for the Greenbrier School District, coordinated the effort with the help of Angela Hartman, Gifted and Talented specialist from Wooster.
Mike Mitchell, DI state director, was on hand for the fun and commented, "There are no right or wrong answers or solutions to the problems these kids face — only a learning experience."
Each team consists of four to six students who must be creative, improvise a solution to a problem within six minutes with bare minimum materials to work with and demonstrate how well they can work together as a team. Points are given by judges for their efforts, and coaches and judges later critique their efforts and show them how they could do better.
For instance, one of the DI problems was to find four creative ways to re-use a compact disc case and present a performance in which to show their ideas to the appraisers.
A very confident high school group from Texarkana decided they were shields used against "bad guys" like Armadillo Man, used as fairy wings, used as a shield against a toy monster and used as a laser against invaders. A Greenbrier Junior High School group in another room saw their CD case as a water-proof phone case, a magnifying glass, a mirror and a mini-market board.
The presentations were just as ingenious as their solutions.
A fifth grade group from Pine Bluff saw them as holograms, a Frisbee and a ninja star.
DI covers all areas of learning, while incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Fine arts and improvisation are also thrown in for good measure.
Many of our future business leaders are developing from DI challenges around the country.
Kids are on their own solving mind-bending problems as a team. They learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas and the process of solving problems together.
Greenbrier High School is hosting the Northern Region competition March 1. If you would like to see creativity and enthusiasm in our youngsters, volunteer to help or just come to see. Call Robin Clark at 501-679-1065 for information.