A team of Windsor Knolls Middle School seventh graders—Duncan Ways, Nicole Simmons and Skylar Robisch—competed at the Destination Imagination Maryland State Tournament held at UMBC on March 30. Known as Team Woah! (intentionally misspelled), the trio took first place in a field of 15 teams competing at the middle school level in the Improvisational Challenge, Heads Up! In addition, the team also earned a Destination Imagination Renaissance Award for excellence in performance.
Destination Imagination (DI) is an international, project-based educational program that encourages innovation, teamwork and creative problem-solving. Students choose one of seven different open-ended DI challenges and work together in teams to plan, create and present their solution.
The Improvisation Challenge Heads Up! requires each team to quickly incorporate numerous required improv elements that are judged by the appraisers. Just before their performance, teams are randomly assigned two “Figure Heads” that must be included into the basic “Tale” that they are randomly assigned. Also, a “Flip” event is revealed during the performance and must be included, and at the same time the whole performance switches genres from comedy to tragedy (or vice-versa) and also switches from verbal to non-verbal.
The Team Woah! skit began as a sitcom-style comedy (complete with a quick rendition of the “Friends” theme song and use of a laugh track) where where Victor Hugo, author of “Les Miserables” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and China’s Gold Panda were working at an amusement park and selling cotton candy. After unveiling the Flip, which demanded that “a dog walking itself” enter the story, the skit turned both non-verbal and tragic as the Gold Panda soon became sick while riding the roller coaster.
Teams competing at States advanced from Regional Tournaments held in early March. The Windsor Knolls students placed first at DI’s Western Regional Tournament as well. Winning the Maryland State Championship now qualifies the team for participation in DI’s Global Finals, which will be held May 22 to 25 in Kansas City, Missouri.
The team is now actively fundraising to help pay for the expense of the trip, which is estimated to be approximately $10,000 including team registration, lodging and travel. On Monday, May 6, they are holding a fundraiser at the Mt. Airy Chipotle from 5 to 9 p.m. Also, the team has established a GoFundMe page where donations directly to the team can be accepted: www.gofundme.com/windsor-knolls-destination-imagination-globals.