Students advance to state competition

Students at Ashby Lee Elementary School have advanced to the Destination Imagination state competition in Mechanicsville.

Enrichment Teacher at Ashby Lee Elementary School Barbara Miller said the Destination Imagination program is a fun, hands-on program that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Moving on in the competition was a wonderful accolade, but the true reward for all was the journey they took to get there. They all learned so much and made memories that will last a lifetime. I am very proud of all their efforts and for representing Shenandoah County and Ashby Lee so well,” she said.

She added that the students have learned patience, flexibility, persistence, collaborative problem solving and respect for their ideas and the ideas of others. Ashby Lee Elementary School began with three Destination Imagination teams and W.W. Robinson Elementary School had two teams participate. Each team participates in a different main challenge and an instant challenge.

At the regional competition this year, one team at Ashby Lee, Friendly Beelievers, placed first in both their instant and main challenges and will compete at the state tournament, Miller said. Another team, Star Labs, won third place and will also compete at the state level. The Imaginators competed for the first time this year, but will not move on to states. Both teams at W.W. Robinson competed at regionals, but will not move on to states.

Team Friendly Beelievers did the improvisational challenge where they were given prompts, characters and genres to create a skit on the spot using only a few props. Team members include Noah Bauserman, Matthew Halterman, Kesi Butler, Faith Halterman and Maggie Eaton.

Team Star Labs competed in the technical challenge where they had to create, design and present a show that included at least two technical effects and build a set so part of their stage would move at least one character from one side of the stage to the other. They built a car for their set. Team members include Reilly Olinger, Stuart Pirtle, Tai Croushore, Liam Ring, Ayden Reynard and Benjamin Kinkead.

The two teams moving on to the state tournament will compete April 8 in Mechanicsville, she said, and will compete against teams from across Virginia.

“This program would not be possible without the support of administration and wonderful parents. Our parents have helped to fund and embraced the program, donated supplies, provided transportation, drove to competitions, instilled commitment in their children and more,” she added. “Team managers spend countless hours of their own time and money planning and meeting with our teams throughout the year, guiding them and facilitating the groups, ensuring success. Each team also had to secure an appraiser who dedicated their own time and gave up their Saturdays to go to training and judge all day at the competition.”

Teams have been fundraising to cover the cost of attending the state competition, and will need to continue fundraising if they advance to the globals competiton, she said. Anyone looking to make a contribution can contact Kina Eaton at keaton76@icloud.com.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com