Howland teams head to nationals

Destination Imagination

HOWLAND — Two Howland Local School District Destination Imagination teams will head to the global finals May 22 to 25 in Kansas City, Mo. after being successful at the regional and state levels of the competition.

Amy Awaida, a parent and adviser to the two teams, said the teams each did a community service project as part of Destination Imagination and recently made check presentations to the organizations they wanted to help.

Awaida said the teams will compete with students from across the U.S. and 15 foreign countries, with 8,000 people expected to attend.

The team of fifth-grade girls called the Fantastic Five collected more than 340 items in three weeks for Ohio CAN, a drug rehabilitation / recovery program. They presented their items to Hope Lovrinoff-Moran, Mahoning County coordinator for Ohio CAN, who said the money raised from a pajama day at school and personal care and hygiene item donations will help those served by the organization.,

Lovrinoff-Moran said people will receive care bags filled with socks, gloves, toothpaste, notes of encouragement and other items.

“This is one way for the community to show they support these folks during their recovery,” she said.

The Fantastic Five, competing in the elementary division, focused on drug awareness and helping those battling drug addictions. They collected items to benefit drug recovery centers.

Gianna Glaros, 11, said the team did a skit, recited poetry and performed singing and dancing to share their message. Laura Awaida, 9, said they wanted to educate people not to take drugs and and other ways to help those in recovery.

The other team of high school students The Seven Bobs also competed in the community learning service category, collecting items and raising $1,000 for Ohio Compass Family Services. The team has made it to the global finals six times of the seven years the team has been competing in different categories.

Joseph Caruso, with Compass, said the community service agency offers a variety of services for infants to seniors including workforce development and counseling.

“This donation will really help us accomplish what we do,” he said.

Their service learning project raised awareness of domestic violence, raising $1,000 for Sojourner House and Compass, which helps those who are victims of domestic violence.

The team did an educational skit and presentation showing how one in four women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence.

Thomas Awaida, a team member, said they raised some of the money from a Dress Down Day at the high school. The team also received donations from local parishes.

In March, the Howland teams were among 22 teams who competed at the regional event at Youngstown State University with students coming from schools in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

Top scoring teams at the regional advanced to the state competition March 30 at Beaver Local Schools.