A total of 18 Waxahachie ISD teams participated in the Destination ImagiNation competition for the Greater Fort Worth region last month. After the students worked through challenges in Abilene, two teams and one outstanding student received special recognition.

Dana James, the Destination ImagiNation coordinator for Waxahachie ISD, commended the teams and their collaborative, creative efforts in this year’s challenges. She mentioned one student, Grace Ruiz, who received the Spirit of Destination ImagiNation Award. This special recognition goes to a student who acts a superior role model in the areas of spirit, sportsmanship and volunteerism. Ruiz worked with the I Donut Know team from Howard Jr. High.

Two teams also medaled at the competition. The Moon Monkeys from Finley Junior High placed third in improv, while the Wedgeworth Warriors placed fifth in the engineering challenge.

The Moon Monkeys have vigorously competed for the last seven years. This year the team took on the improv challenge titled, “Treasure.” The team was comprised of three eighth graders, Logan Jones, Turner Mullican and Brisa White.

“Turner and Brisa have been competing together since second grade, and Logan joined them last year after two founding members of the troop left the team to pursue other ventures,” elaborated Karina White, the team manager.

Team leaders Karina White and Charity Mullican have supported the Moon Monkeys since the start.

The improve challenge required the students to research eight different cultures and famous explorers. Using the information gathered, students had two minutes to plan and create an improvisational skit about a quest to return a lost cultural treasure to its rightful owner.

During the five-minute performance, students integrated two explorers, incorporated a prop made up of a plain white sheet and showed how the characters worked to overcome the challenge.

“The Moon Monkeys received high praise from the judges for their dynamic approach, characterization, enthusiasm, energy and infectious humor,” White acknowledged.

The Moon Monkeys now eagerly wait for next year’s competition and plan to continue with Destination ImagiNation through their senior year.

Claudia Gutierrez was the team manager for the Wedgworth Warriors, who placed fifth in the engineering challenge. The team was comprised of seven third-grade students. For four students it was their first time to compete while the others on the team have participated since kindergarten.

The engineering challenge required the students to design, build and test a freestanding structure that could withstand impact from a falling object. They also had to tell a story about a sudden event with dramatic impacts to follow the design.

“It was a great experience and so exciting to see how creative teams get with their challenges. I’m excited to see this team grow and hopefully compete again next year,” Gutierrez expressed.

Michael G. said he was excited to participate and since it was his first year, added he “would like to do it again because it was fun. I want to get better and learn more about engineering.”

Makayla R. said she’s been doing DI since kindergarten and “I like it because I spend time with my friends. I learn that acting out and using my imagination helps me be more creative. I like the instant challenges because we communicate and see what plan we can think of to win the challenge. I want to do DI even when I’m in high school because it’s super fun and creative."

Students had to select one out of the six challenges and master it before the competition. James said students have been practicing since September of 2017 on their projects. The DI competition is separated into two segments, the selected challenge they have been preparing for and the instant challenge, which is an on the spot competition with no preparation.

Through both challenges, teams used critical thinking skills, listening skills, teamwork, strategy, theatre skills to get the judges’ attention.

Even though students in WISD will not be returning to the state competition, several students’ attitudes displayed an eagerness to prepare for next year’s challenges.


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