Friday, June 22, 2018
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7th at global finals

Destination Imagination students share highlights of competition, trip

Practicing their movie trailer before global finals on the University of Tennessee campus wasn’t going well.

And when Maddie Daup burst into tears after smashing her thumb on a falling prop, the Dudley Elementary Destination Imagination team didn’t know what to expect during their performance before global judges in Knoxville, TN.

“But we knew we did our best,” said team member Adam Groenke.

“And it was the best we’d ever done,” said Maxwell Jinks. “Even though when we were practicing, it was horrible.”

The team’s best was placing seventh in their challenge and the name of their school—as well as the other top 10 teams in each challenge—showed up on a big screen in a campus arena.

Korea, China, Texas and Colorado took the lion’s share of the awards, according to team co-manager Jenny Daup.

“When Gothenburg Schools showed up on the screen as No. 7, I was shocked and incredibly honored that our kids competed up there in the big league,” Jenny said.

For the other team manager, Khris Jinks, the team was already No. 1.

“It was indescribable,” Khris said. “They had worked so hard for so long. They deserved it.”

On Thursday, five of the six team members shared highlights of the May 23-26 competition and sightseeing along the way.

When members realized the team was the seventh-best, out of 43 elementary teams, they said the Gothenburg fan club—parents, relatives, as well as two Cozad teams that competed—all cheered.

A Texas team placed first.

Although the team was thrilled, Maddie said it didn’t really matter if members hadn’t made the top 10.

“Because you can’t go farther than globals,” she said.

In addition to the movie trailer, the team also did well in an instant challenge. The two scores are combined for the final score.

During the instant challenge, the team had to build a structure in rice, beans or marbles with more points given for teams choosing marbles.

They chose marbles.

Materials included playing cards, straws, pencils, mailing labels, string and pipe cleaners.

The taller the structure, the more points awarded in the five-minute challenge.

Khris said the team also earned big points for the Trojan horse they built for the movie trailer and a chair created out of duct tape and cardboard.

Other highlights of the competition, the students said, included accomplishing what the team set out to do, meeting kids from different countries, feeling a rush from competition, and spending time with the team.

Another high point was being chosen, through a lottery system, to march with other teams during Olympic-like opening ceremonies.

The Dudley team, of fourth and fifth graders, was selected to represent Nebraska.

Jenny and Khris drove most of the team to and from Knoxville and members did some sightseeing both ways, stopping to see the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Dollywood Theme Park and Wonderworks (amusement parks), Titanic Museum Attraction and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.

Team members recommend Destination Imagination to others.

“You can be yourself and don’t have to act all cool,” Maddie said.

Lauren Waskowiak said if “you need help, there are other people there to help.”

Maxwell Jinks described DI as an environment that encourages everyone to do their best while Groenke said he’s always felt included.

“You can share any idea you want and never be discluded,” he said.

Jenny added that working as a team and “thinking outside the box” is something to be celebrated.

“Sometimes kids spend a lot of time trying to be just like everyone else (wearing the right clothes, playing the right sports, having the right friends) but the week was a celebration of kids being creative and just being themselves,” she said.

Taking some of the creative, team-building activities into the classroom and after-school benefits the entire community, Jenny said.

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