Maine teams to compete in global event

Posted April 12, 2010, at 8:38 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — What would a superstitious person with the ability to talk to army ants do with the fate of VHS tapes?

That was the question posed to six young women from the Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford during a competition at the University of Maine on Saturday. With only six minutes to prepare, the fourth- and fifth-graders performed a skit that answered the question — transfer their contents to DVD and rid the world of them — and anointed them Destination Imagination state champions for their age group. The team had spent months studying 10 “stock characters” and 10 “endangered species,” but they didn’t know until six minutes before their performance which combination they would draw. The ability to talk to army ants was thrown in as a surprise.

“We kind of figured that the VHS tape was going to be hard,” said Emily LeClair, a fifth-grader from Milford who played the superstitious person. “It was just our luck that we got the thing that was hard, but during our skit it was one of the easiest ones we’d done.”

LeClair and two other team members weren’t there when their team was crowned champions because they were in Milford Saturday evening performing in a school theater production.

“We were in the middle of the school musical and one of the parents told one of the girls,” said LeClair. “She was going through the school screaming, ‘We’re going to Tennessee!’”

Teams from the United States and around the world — including the Milford team and several others from Maine — will travel to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville May 26-29 to compete in the Destination Imagination Global Finals.

Jessica Corkum, a Dr. Lewis S. Libby School teacher and leader of the winning Destination Imagination team and others that competed in the state finals, said she will meet with parents this evening to discuss how to fund the team’s trip to Tennessee, which she estimates will cost more than $6,000. Corkum said anyone who wants to help with the fundraising may call the school at 827-2252.

Corkum said Destination Imagination, which involves some 100,000 students in the United States, emphasizes skills that researchers have identified as the most sought-after by Fortune 500 companies: problem solving, teamwork and creative thinking.

“Thinking outside the box is exactly what this is all about,” she said. “Not only did they have to find the right information, but they had to figure out what information was reliable. They’re questioning everything they see and figuring out how to organize and share it with a group.”

Other local winners in various categories and age groups at Saturday’s Destination Imagination state championships were Orono Middle School; Washburn District High School; Owls Head Central School; the William S. Cohen School in Bangor; Narraguagus High School in Harrington; the George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden; and Cherryfield Elementary School.

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