Albemarle County Public Schools Press Release
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Forty Albemarle County Public Schools students representing eight teams from elementary, middle and high schools in the division have qualified for Destination Imagination’s Global Finals, which will be held next month at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. More than 16,000 students from around the world are expected to attend the May 21-24 competition, which has been billed as “the world’s largest celebration of creativity.”
Organized in 1982, Destination Imagination is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization that conducts state and global competitions each year around program themes that align with national education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) standards. Student teams begin planning their projects in the fall, directed by parent volunteers who serve as team managers.
This year’s program themes tested student knowledge, research and presentation skills in seven challenge categories—technical, scientific, fine arts, improvisational, structural, service learning, and early learning— and instant challenge.
Three teams, one from Henley Middle School, another from Burley and Walton middle schools, and a third from Cale Elementary School, earned first place in their categories at the recent state championship held at Spotswood High School in Rockingham.
Henley’s students won the Improvisational challenge, which gave students five minutes to develop and present a skit that used a character from 1,000 years ago and a contemporary character to solve a crisis. The Burley-Walton team and the students from Cale finished first in their respective structural categories. The challenge was to build a structure within a confined space that could withstand two forces at the same time.
Henley teams earned two second place finishes, in fine arts and structural. An all-female engineering team from Albemarle High School qualified for their third global competition, earning second place in the technical challenge. A Woodbrook Elementary School team was second in service learning and is headed to the global finals for the second year in a row, and a team from Brownsville Elementary School was second in the science challenge.
“Students on all 17 of our teams competing in Rockingham are champions,” said Carrie Taylor, a Western Albemarle physics teacher and a member of Destination Imagination’s Board of Directors in Virginia. “The experiences they gained fit precisely with the skills that are so important to lifelong success—the ability to be creative, work in teams, problem-solve, and present their points of view in a clear and influential way,” she said.
“The opportunities these students have to go on to the Global Finals, to experience a university setting, meet thousands of students from around the world, participate in workshops, compete with the best of the best, are life-changing,” Taylor added.
There is, however, one significant obstacle in front of each team before they can make it to Knoxville. The cost for each student or team manager to attend the global competition is $685. Over the next several weeks, students, parents and supporters will be seeking donations to help defray expenses and make it possible for as many students to participate in the global experience as possible.
Albemarle County Public Schools teams and students qualifying for the global finals include:
Burley and Walton Middle Schools
Structural—First Place— Team manager is Rex Linville. Team members are Ava Burnsed, Owen Linville, Aidan Hesselroth, Megan Netherland, Izzi Ross, and Christian Sesler.
Cale Elementary School
Structural—First Place— Team managers are Kacy Burnsed and Ellen Stackpole. Team members are Adaire Burnsed, Jack Giese, Manel Leong, Aaron Stackpole, and Jillian Steinmetz.
Henley Middle School
Improvisation—First Place—Team managers are Jeff and Michelle Sanders. Team members include Evan Bumgardner, Heidi Hahn, Frank Kennedy, Shane Matthews, and Casey and Zane Sanders.
Fine Arts—Second Place— Team managers are Kristine Terrell and Gineane Stalfort. Team members include Lucas Adam, Mae Evans, Kathleen Hughes, Owen Schaffer, Sam and Will Stalfort, and Libby Terrell.
Structural—Second Place—Team manager is Mary Ann Schill. Team members are Lauren Davis, Gabe Nafzinger, Aimee Schill, Jessica Walker, and Ricky Weikle.
Albemarle High School
Technical—Second Place—Team manager is Stephanie Haden. Team members are Madison Gildersleeve-Price, Abby and Elly Haden, Teresa Li, Maggie Matthews, Sarah Trotter, and Stacy Vitko.
Brownsville Elementary School
Science—Second Place—Team managers are Amy Boitnott and Holly Walker. Team members include Ellie and Grace Boitnott, Jackson Douvas, Lucas Farmer, Sophie Lanahan, Lucy Roberts and Rachel Walker.
Woodbrook Elementary SchoolService Learning—Second Place—Team managers are Brenda Daniel and Christa Orn. Team members include Jaya Daniel, Arianne DeBoer, Jordyn Orn, Elianna and Kayle Phung, Lindsay Morton, and Trinity Swartz.