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DI students work to solve challenge of global tournament funding

Pagosa’s two most experienced Destination ImagiNation teams, the high school’s Imaginators V and the junior high’s Backtrackers, qualified to compete at the Global Finals at the University of Tennessee, May 26 through 29.

These 14 motivated students will represent Pagosa schools with Team Colorado at the Global competition, but only if they raise enough funds in the next few weeks.

Destination ImagiNation is a co-curricular school activity, based on national standards for learning. The students exercise critical thinking and innovation to solve a Central Challenge, integrating visual and performing arts with technical skills. Teams also solve spontaneous Instant Challenges in competition. They do all this with absolutely no interference from adults or peers. Input from outside the minds of team members is strictly forbidden in DI.

Both teams earned rare Renaissance Awards at the state tournament. The Backtrackers were recognized for their superior scenery and their pop-can costumed robot narrator. They transported their audience from the year 2055 to the world of young Albert Einstein, using a high-tech slide show as part of their story. A remote-controlled actual robot, made by the eighth-graders, performed its tasks perfectly.

The Imaginators V wowed the appraisers with the detailed technical construction of their futuristic set. Their Renaissance Award recognized their “meticulously built scissor and joint mechanisms” that changed the scenery right on cue. The students’ remote-controlled robot was created by their fictional famous scientist and it still worked for his grandchildren. The actual robot performed brilliantly in the Imaginators’ story.

These leaders of the future, our Pagosa school students, are faced with another Instant Challenge. They must raise about $10,000 per team to get to Globals. They will be seen all over Pagosa in May at various fund-raising events. A bake sale will be held at uptown City Market on May 15. A garage sale will be May 22 at Riverside Health Center. The DI students will be selling Little Caesar’s Pizza Kits. They are even selling discounted hot air balloon rides through Rocky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Company. These are just a few of the upcoming events planned.

In years past, Destination ImagiNation has benefitted from generous financial support from the Archuleta School District. This year, all Colorado schools are faced with significant reductions in state funding. Archuleta school district leaders are determined to ensure quality instruction and achievement for all of our students and are not able to fund any national competitions in 2010.

So, it’s Instant Challenge time. Pagosa, let’s send these deserving students to DI Global Finals. Let’s help them compete against students from around the world.

Your contribution is tax-deductible. Bring donations to the junior high front desk, or contact team managers, Marcy Mitchell (903-3605) or Julia Hampton (264-1719). Go online and visit for full details about numerous ways for you to donate.