Limestone’s DI team preparing for global competition in May

12 years ago

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

LIMESTONE — Fifty-six trophies, plaques and recognition certificates have been amassed for the Limestone Community School since students first started entering the creative competitions of Odyssey of the Mind in 1986 and the current Destination ImagiNation program.

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Aroostook Republican photos/Natalie Bazinet
Limestone’s champion Destination ImagiNation team headed off to Global Competition next month is, from left, front row: Taylor Devoe, Megan Tucker and Taylor Labreck. Back row: Karson Albert, Karoline Dillenbeck, Amelia Roy and Tom Pinette.

Members of the school’s elementary team are looking to add one more shining pinnacle of accomplish to that trophy case and clinch the champion trifecta by winning the upcoming Global Competition on May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.

The seven-kid team earned shot at Globals by winning both Regionals and States with their solution to the DI Solar Stage Challenge, which included creating and presenting a theatrical performance that tells a story about the use of solar energy, integrating research about past and/or current uses of solar energy, designing and creating a solar energy prototype that demonstrates a new way to collect, capture and use solar energy. Teams were also required to design and provide theatrical lighting to illuminate the presentation and to create special theatrical effects.

“I was excited when we won Regionals, and I was Surprised when we won states,” recalled team member Karoline Dillenbeck. She said that the team all started cheering and running up to the stage when their victory at States was announced.

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Karson Albert, wearing a llama costume, recites his shocking lines during Destination Imagination rehearsal, and teammates Amelia Roy, at left, and Taylor Devoe respond accordingly.

While they did celebrate their accomplishments, the team’s buckled down to improve upon their DI challenge even more.

As co-coach and LCS fourth-grade teacher Alva King explained, the team’s winning scores at regionals were 20 points higher than their winning scores at States — and that was even after the team made post-regional improvements to their performance by re-writing lines, adding parts and making costume changes.

“When you go to States, they’re preparing you to be a World team, and that means every little thing needs to be analyzed and evaluated,” King explained.

King and her husband, David, have been coaching DI and OM students since Limestone’s first 1986 competition.

“My favorite part is when the team is prepared and they are proud and happy with their results, because that’s all I can ever hope for,” Alva King said, adding that all she asks is for students to do the best that they can.

Writing this year’s play, the students take judges down to Peru and into the Incan Empire, featuring scores of creativity from the plot to historically accurate details and, of course, a bit of solar energy; before they could write it, team members Amelia Roy, Tom Pinette, Megan Tucker, Taylor Labreck, Taylor Devoe, Karoline Dillenbeck and Karson Albert had to first learn about Incan history and culture.

Pinette’s the team’s history buff and while he’s generally interested in learning about wars and the presidents, he found Incan history fascinating.

“I was surprised to learn that they had 10,000 miles of road network and they were a pretty sophisticated culture,” he explained.

Choosing the Incan Empire as the center of their play is Labreck’s favorite aspect of their performance.

“It’s very interesting to learn about them because they did some amazing things,” Labreck said, explaining that some of the amazing things the Incans did are very different from how things are done in Limestone.

“Like when they make buildings,” Labreck said, “they fit square rocks together — they don’t cut them. That’s what we tried to do with one of our props.”

While creating the base under a pillar of light, team members used their artistic talents to convey the intricate way each rock was sturdily fit together.

“Destination ImagiNation helps you learn about the history of other cultures, you learn how to build stuff and you learn how to work better with a team,” Labreck said, a sentiment her teammates echoed.

For four months, the DI team has met twice a week for two hours and once on Saturday for a four-hour practice. When it comes down to the numbers, Alva King equates the time commitment to that of joining a basketball team.

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Tom Pinette plays an Incan Zampoña at the opening of his team’s Destination ImagiNation play, which they practiced on April 7. Karoline Dillenbeck, clad in gold, made her way across the stage during DI practice on April 7.

Though coaches can’t do the work for the kids or even make suggestions on how to improve the play, the Kings do plenty to help their DI students down the path to victory. Aside from furnishing countless hours and resources, the coaches connect their team with ways to learn necessary skills and provide continuous support from the time the season starts in January until the very last competition.

“We can’t do it for them, but we can tell them when they haven’t done their best. That’s our job,” Alva King explained.

The constructive criticism sounds harsher than it really is.

All seven students said that they participate in Destination ImagiNation because it’s fun.

“I like being on the [DI] team because you get help from other people and you get to help other people,” Roy said. It’s her second year on the elementary DI team and there are a few aspects of this year’s play that she particularly enjoys.

“I love our play,” she said, “and Karson’s costume.”

Albert’s llama suit is definitely a sight.

“I am Karsama the Llama!” he proudly boasted. “My favorite part about Destination Imagination is that I get to put on my awesome llama suit and perform in front of people.”

While the bold llama’s outgoing personality is well known amongst his peers, DI has strengthened his ability to collaborate with others.

“We’re all very smart and we all have our strengths and weakness, so we can help each other out,” Albert said.

Collaboration is just one aspect of working together that keeps the team cohesive; they’ve also learned the importance of agreeing to disagree.

“If we don’t agree on one thing, it challenges us to meet in the middle,” Devoe said, explaining that compromise is an important skill for her to have as a fifth-grader and an adult.

Being on a successful Destination ImagiNation team means putting in a lot of hours and a lot of brain power, but Tucker says it’s well worth the effort.

“I think it’s fun, and I finally learned how to sew,” Tucker said. She’s also integral to managing the project’s lighting.

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Taylor Labreck projects a little stage attitude, as called for in the script created by Limestone’s DI team. Like her teammates, Megan Tucker didn’t miss a line during DI practice on April 7.