Eleven teams from Howland schools showcased their creativity as they competed in the recent regional Destination Imagination competition held at Youngstown State University.
Destination Imagination is 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.
Students prepare for the event from September through May, and teams typically spend two to four months practicing for challenges.
Members of the Howland Glen School’s “Team Glen Rainbow Girls” took part at the recent Destination Imagination event held at Youngstown State University. Team members are Katie Toepfer, Jane Bronson, both first graders, Alana Olszewski, Sophia Powell, both kindergarteners, Rachel Perlov, Isabella Moosally and Taylor Owen, all first graders.
Cindy Baer, a Howland teacher, along with Howland teacher Jo Massaro are co-tournament directors for the regional event. Baer said Howland has always had many teams of all grade levels participating.
There were 45 teams from Mahoning and Trumbull counties and some from Ashtabula County. Schools included Howland, Niles, Girard, Joseph Badger, Warren, Summit Academy and Youngstown.
Baer said this is the first time 11 teams from Howland, including three from Howland Glen, took part at DI.
"It's so exciting to have the primary teams involved because it gets them interested in Destination Imagination early, and we hope that interest continues. We have younger siblings taking part after seeing their older siblings be part in past years. The older siblings are doing the competitive challenges and the younger siblings the Rising Stars events," Baer said.
Paul Lattanzi, a seventh grader, said the day went well and his team, "The Fabulous Fuel Pumps" was very prepared for the competition.
The team prepared for the event at Howland United Methodist Church.
Mason Glinn, seventh grader, said the event has been a lot of fun with a lot of running between buildings for different competition categories.
While they didn't compete in an actual event they did get some experience as a group of kindergarten and first graders called the "Glen Rainbow Girls" from Howland Glen took part in the Roy G. Biv's Birthday Party "A Colors of the Rainbow" event as part of the Rising Stars category for primary grade levels,.
Nicole Baringer, whose daughter competed in the performance-based division, said younger children can gain experience and see what Destination Imagination is like.
"It was really great to get to see them and their props taking part. They created their own script and scenery and memorized their lines," she said.
Baringer said the younger students are not judged and all get an award in the Rising Star category.
Kerrie Olszewski and Heather Moosally, both coaches, along with Annie Powell at Howland Glen, said the girls enjoyed participating without being judged.
Olszewski said the girls created a rainbow birthday party theme.
"They got together and shared ideas and worked as a team," she said.
Destination Imagination focuses on teaching children the creative process from imagination to innovation.
"We are excited the teams are here and having fun," Baer said.
DI teams have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating science, technology, math and the arts.