by Lisa Tome
You'd think that after making it to the Destination Imagination Global finals in Knoxville nine years running, there would be less excitement at Perryville Middle School.
Instead the seven member team and their coaches, Kathryn Johnson and Scott Dellosso are elated.
Destination Imagination is a worldwide endeavor whose mission is to "teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world."
Ian Baughman, Sage Phillips, Evan Miller, Sophie Schoenfeld, Mikayla Bryant, Josie Scramlin, and Sam Schoenfeld are this year's team members. They earned first place in both regional and state Destination Imagination competitions.
"We won first at regionals and states. My kids have worked so hard to get to this point. I am so proud of them," said Johnson.
"These students have been striving all year to overcome many challenges. It has been such a wonderful experience working with this group of kids. Each student on our team brings a specific talent and skill that offers support to the entire success of the challenge. The students did an extensive amount of research and collaboration to achieve their ultimate success. I could not be more proud to be a part of this program," said Johnson.
Scott Dellosso is the team's assistant coach. He also coaches the Perryville High Destination Imagination team. He said experience is important. "The key is experience. You go to Globals once and you see the level of competition. We get team members from sixth, seventh, and eighth grade and we're always building the team. Having that experience lets them blow the competition away," said Dellosso. "This team is really dedicated. We had auditions in early September and then twice a week practices."
The DI theme this year was "Vanished." Students were charged with the task of telling a story about a color that disappears and the impact that would have on society. Destination also encourages using a variety of skills - script writing, coding, building, art/design, science, technology, engineering, and math.
"You need to pick a team with balance. You need an eclectic group of kids," said Dellosso.
Team member Evan Miller is enthused. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me in an after school program. Everyone should do it or at least try," said Miller.
His fellow team member Mikayla Bryant has her eyes on her future. "The teamwork skills and creating, I want to do that when I grow up," she said.
Ian Baughman said he likes the "thinking on your feet" challenge of DI. "It's tons of fun. I learned a lot of stuff here," he said.
The next challenge for the team is fundraising. They need to collect $8,000 for expenses related to going to Tennessee. "We've been so fortunate. We've established such good relationships in the community. Organizations put us in their budget now," said Dellosso.