Two local teams went to Knoxville, Tenn. last week to compete in the Global Finals of Destination Imagination (DI) from May 22 through 25, and both cracked the top 20 in their categories.
The Pinkerton Academy team, titled How Many Dragons Have You Fought? competed in the Technical category in the secondary level for the In the Zone challenge, and came in 13th. The team members are Olivia Lariviere, Noah Levin, Gannon Pond, and Nikhyl Sud, all of Hampstead, and Andrew Cunningham and Solon Rawson, both of Derry. Team manager is Chris Pond.
Martha Pond called the performance of the Pinkerton team “outstanding.” While several of the members had been to Globals before, always in the Improv category, this was the team’s first technical team sent by PA in recent memory.
“Their original story and music both received the highest scores of all 60 teams, and appraisers raved about their creativity and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking,” she said. “Their technical use of robotics and propulsion systems also drew praise from appraisers and spectators.
“The team members were very happy with the results – 13th place is the highest finish for this group of kids on the Global stage,” she added. “They are very excited and eagerly awaiting next year’s challenges!”
Hampstead Academy’s improvisational team, Paranoid Sushi, competing in the Change in RealiTee (Improv) Middle School Divisional challenge, tied for 11th place in the middle level.
The team is coached by Suzanne Coates and Leslie Fonseca and members are Isaac Dinsmore of Windham, Rachel Fonseca of Haverhill, Mass., Jack Lawlor of Salem, Sadie Farnsworth of Hampstead, and Nathan Stallings of Derry.
“We created a 5-minute improv skit about life after a dramatic change,” Jack Lawlor explained. “Just before our performance, we were given a dramatic change and a communication technique we had to integrate into a skit. Additionally, we had to use eight T-shirts and washable markers to create costumes, sets, and props for the skit. We had 5 minutes to plan the skit and how to incorporate these elements. We were then given one minute to come up with a slogan from three randomly selected nouns that would tie together all the improv elements. After this preparation time, we had 5 minutes to perform our skit.”
He said points were awarded by the appraisers for effectively integrating all elements. “It sounds crazy, but if you prepare well, work together, and follow the directions, you can come up with a good skit,” Lawlor added.
“Besides our central challenge, we also had to compete in an Instant Challenge, which usually involves using materials given to create a structure in a given amount of time,” he said.
He noted that he and Rachel Fonseca have been on the same team for five years, and this was their third Globals. “Sadie has done DI for three years,” he said. “Isaac and Nathan just started this year. Over the years, many Hampstead Academy teams have made it to the state tournament and Global Finals.
“I have really enjoyed doing DI because you have to think on your feet and roll with mistakes,” he said of the experience. “Teamwork is the most important thing. Our team’s biggest challenge was to realize we each have different skills, all of which contribute to the team effort. We had to learn to listen, pull our weight, and rely on each other. We each had to learn to work with the best ideas, not necessarily our own, and to regroup when a concept didn’t pan out. This was not always easy, but really paid off.
“And whether or not a team does well at a tournament, it can take pride in its solution because it belongs to the team – coaches and parents are not allowed to interfere with or contribute to the solution,” he concluded. “We all are glad we do DI and recommend it to all kids!”
Calling the Global Finals “awesome,” Lawlor said the students “pin trade,” which gives them an opportunity to meet kids from throughout the U.S. and from other countries.
They also heard a talk by a National Geographic photographer, met NASA scientists, visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and attended a Duct Tape Ball, with costumes made from duct tape.