Huron Valley Oak Valley Middle School students are headed for the world championship Destination ImagiNation competition, an event involving team-based creative problem solving.
The competition is slated for May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Team members Emily Britton, Alexis Fosmer, Emily Britton, Shaina Parks and Shelby Wilson, who are all in the seventh-grade, recently took second-place in the state affiliate finals after taking second at the regional meet.
“Huron Valley Schools has only participated for four years and this is the third time we are sending a team to a global competition,” said Tina Wilson, the team’s manager. “Six teams from (the district) went to the regional competitions and two moved onto the state. We are the only team left.”
Destination ImagiNation is a not-for-profit organization that annually reaches 125,000 students across the U.S. and more than 30 other countries. It’s an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together, and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the challenges.
The global competition draws 1,200 teams from 49 states and various countries around the world.
Out of the six different challenge categories, the Oak Valley Middle School Nyan Kitties team chose to do the improvisational challenge called, “News to me!” The team is given two unrelated news article and four minutes to figure out the cause-and-effect correlation between the pair. In conjunction with the exercise, the team must also create a skit to perform. As an added degree of difficulty, the team will be given a random glitch at some point to be included in the performance and be granted an extra minute to integrate it.
“They do a lot of research, and improv requires theatrical abilities and creative thinking,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s role is to help students keep on task and raise funds so they can attend competitions.
“This is my fourth year involved in the program,” Wilson said. “It’s a phenomenal program because these kids haven’t learned to think inside the box yet and their minds are open to all possibilities.
“It’s amazing to see them work as a team, be creative and learn continuously. That’s the best part,” Wilson added.
Each student must sign a “Declaration of Independence” that states that neither their parents or their manager helped them solve the challenge.
Now that the team cinched a spot in the finals, it must raise $4,000 to participate. So far the team has conducted a bottle and can drive in Milford, held a movie fund-raiser at the Milford Cinema, and is currently seeking restaurants that will donate a percentage of their profits on a given date.
Those who would like to make a cash donation may contact Wilson at 248-390-0161.