Midlothian ISD’s participation — and success — in the Destination Imagination program continue to grow with every passing year. But because of the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s teams will have to pursue national achievement via a virtual path.
This year, a district-record total of 16 teams from the district’s elementary and middle schools advanced to the Lone Star Finals. Last year, 10 MISD teams advanced to the state competition and six of those groups advanced to the Global Finals.
On Friday, Destination Imagination Texas announced that it has canceled the state competition, which had been scheduled for April 3-4 at the University of Texas at Arlington.
However, all is not lost, as MISD coordinator Kim Moss said the teams will still have a chance to compete in a virtual Global Finals this summer.
Destination Imagination, or DI, is an international, project-based educational program that encourages innovation, teamwork and creative problem-solving. Teams choose one of seven STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), open-ended challenges and then plan, create and present their solution.
This school year, Midlothian ISD had the second-highest participation in DI’s Greater Fort Worth Region, with 58 teams and 375 students competing in improv, engineering, fine arts, scientific, technical, and service challenges at the regional tournament on Feb. 15.
Last year, following the state tournament, Moss told the Mirror that the best part of the state competition was seeing all the parents and students representing the district in their Midlothian DI shirts, and cheering like crazy for MISD teams.
“They both cheered for those who won and comforted those who did not advance,” Moss said.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 Global Finals will not take place in Kansas City in May as scheduled. Instead, a virtual tournament will be held where teams from 14 countries and 45 states will compete in a range of creative, problem-solving competitions.
The 16 following teams, listed by school, qualified to represent MISD:
T.E. Baxter Elementary
The Crazy Pandas received 1st place at the regional competition in the Technical Challenge. The team members are Bella Fontenot, Brittany Downing, Christine Ray, Joshua Shackleford, Kingston Ellis, Dalton Ware and Addison Jones. Jennifer Jones and April Downing serve as the team managers.
J.R. Irvin Elementary
The Pawsitive Imagineers received 2nd place in the Science Challenge. The team members are Gabi Peery, Maren Shiffer, Marshall Clayton, Dallas Peck, Ivie Hall, Avery Leonard and Rylee Spencer. Lindsy Shiffer and Amanda Peery serve as the team managers.
The Oddish Dizzies qualified in Fine Arts. The team members are Kendal Scott, Naomi Esmail, Brynn Hambright and Hayden Hill. Leya Villarreal and Jennifer Compton serve as the team managers.
The Go Getter Girls received 1st place in the Fine Arts Challenge. The team members are Brenley Soto, Hanna Litke, Jae Beth Gibson, Madison Garcia, Harper Williams and Samantha Gregory. Angie Litke and Donna Garcia serve as the team managers.
LaRue Miller Elementary
The Curious Chameleons received 1st place in the Science Challenge. The team members are Micah Moss, Christian Teufel, Ella Stanley, Kayleigh Malone, Avery Berry and Caroline Riddile. Emily Stanley and Christina Teufel serve as the team managers.
The Dabbing Bananas received 1st place in the Project Outreach Challenge. The team members are Carter Pillar, Hailey Blackstock, Sophie Gorman, Brooks Kent, Grace Gardner and Miracle Alamadun. Hank Pendley and Kim Gardner serve as the team managers.
The Dynamic Dinos received 2nd place in the Improv Challenge. The team members are Micah Moss, Kennedi Phillips, Leighton Garcia, Braydan Gaskey, Kylie Bryan, Addison Seeds and Liam Sturgin. Kim Moss serves as the team manager.
The Thunder Chickens received 2nd place in the Science Challenge. The team members are Cade Walker, Jillian Johnson, Alexis Henderson, Kylie Drain, Salem Bray, Seth Wilson and Piper Anthony. Heather Bray and Sharon Drain serve as the team managers.
The Tilted Turtles qualified in Technical. The team members are Katelynn Andrle, Dylan Stumpff, Cash Rosales, Holden Krupa, Paige Pustejovsky and MaKenzie Wright. Linda Stumpff serves as team manager.
Bacon No Burger qualified in Service Learning. The team members are Sean Friesenhahn, Landon Friesenhahn, Grace Bourland, Jolie Bourland, Landri Leatherwood and Morgan Sulak. Stacy Leatherwood serves as the team manager.
The Galactic Galaxy Geniuses qualified in Engineering. The team members are Aubrey Chandler, Caroline Fisher, Camy Hopkins, Graham Jenkins, Abri Hendricks, Karson Vernon and McCall Ellzey. Leslie Chandler serves as the team manager.
Mt. Peak Elementary
The Mt. Peak Dominators received 1st place in the Engineering Challenge. The team members are Anna MacMahan, Carter Poplawski, Carley Edmondson, Drake Lee, Leslie English and Grayson Latham. Nada MacMahan and Francis Poplawski serve as the team managers.
Out of the Ordinary received 2nd place in the Improv Challenge. The team members are Raelee Shahi, Paisley Fikes, Cate Walker, Jack Wright, Stella Saucedo and Amiyah DeGrate. Natalie Fikes serves as the team manager.
Walnut Grove Middle School
The Broadway Burritos received 1st place in the Fine Arts Challenge. The team members are Chloe Turk, Jenna Jacobsen, Pearson Urquhart, Brady Rogers, Grady Jenkins and Kayte Brown. Katie Bergvall and Casey Nelson serve as the team managers.
This is Not a Drill received 1st place in the Engineering Challenge. The team members are Lainey Wolf, Bricen Glover, Gregory Guy, Austin Vang, Payton Culp and Avery Wells. Chris Wolf serves as the team manager.
Walnut Grove Middle School and Frank Seale Middle School
The Avocado Avengers received 2nd place in the Improv Challenge. The team members are Silas Moss, Jaxon Insall, Olivia Lewis, Angelina Bohn, Katy Seeds, Clark Roberts and Sophie Tollefsbol. Kim Moss serves as the team manager.
Two teams also received a special award for outstanding work in their challenges. The Broadway Burritos earned a DaVinci Award for their intricate, detailed set, which included more than 2,000 recycled and collaged items, a life-sized juice box that transforms into a photo booth, and their creative costumes.
The Pickle Unicorns earned a Renaissance Award for their outstanding skills in design, engineering, execution or performance. They received a near-perfect score for the execution of their sound effects during their performance.