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Destination Imagination students excel at Southwest Colorado tournament

Seven Destination Imagination teams representing Pagosa schools amazed audiences and appraisers at the Southwest Colorado Regional Tournament.

Our students brought home one third-place award and six first-place trophies. In addition, they earned two Renaissance Awards and one Spirit of Discovery and Imagination Award.

Sixty teams from seven school districts competed in the tournament Saturday, March 19, at Bayfield Middle School. Pagosa’s seven teams consist of 40 highly motivated students, all innovative thinkers, from all three campuses. DI students compete at three different age levels: elementary, middle and secondary.

The seventh and eighth grade Xtreme Menagerie of Minds chose the Structural Challenge and designed a balsa and aluminum foil structure that weighed less than 20 grams and held hundreds of pounds of weight in practice. They foiled a villain in under eight minutes, achieved a third-place finish at tournament, earned the highest Instant Challenge score in their age group and challenge, and picked up a Spirit of Discovery and Imagination Award for their synergistic teamwork.

Pagosa’s youngest team of third and fourth-graders, the Smartalics, and the oldest team of 10th and 11th graders, the Imaginators VI, both won first place in the Scientific Challenge. This year they were asked to explain an Energy Cycle by writing a circular story and building a moving DIcycler set that demonstrates their story, as well as creating costumes and props. The Smartalics explained the life cycle of a star and the Imaginators explained electric currents. A circular story means that a team randomly chooses the act at which they begin their performance and then ends the eight minute performance with the same act.

The ninth grade Double BackTrackers and the sixth and seventh grade DINerds both wrote and performed solutions to the Fine Arts Challenge, which asked for different storytelling methods adapted for three different pretend audiences. The characters traveled by two different methods and included a nonelectric technical spectacle in their allotted eight minutes. The Double Backtrackers relayed a story about good or bad health choices to at-risk kids in New York, fashion designers in Milan, and art students at the Louvre in Paris. The Nerds told their story through time travel. The Earth’s environment and our good or bad choices were described to ancient Puebloans, present-day first-graders, and a Swedish leader of the future. Both teams won first place awards and the Nerds brought home a Renaissance Award for extreme creativity.

Two Pagosa teams tackled the Improvisational Challenge about mythology, cultural understanding and very spontaneous theatre arts. Both achieved first-place awards as a result of their thorough research and spontaneous, but focused interpretations. The sixth and seventh grade DIEinsteins randomly drew Japan as their geographic location and had only a walking stick and a sock to act out their solution. The 10th grade Spazztastic drew Greece and their randomly chosen props were a yoyo and dental floss. Spazztastic wowed the appraisers and earned a Renaissance Award for thinking way out of the box.

Destination Imagination is a co-curricular academic competition. Each year a team chooses one Central Challenge among five: Technical (robotic), Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisation, or Structural (engineering). The students research, write, build and rehearse a creative solution to their chosen challenge for several months before competitions begin. In addition, the students practice Instant Challenges, getting ready for the one that really counts at competition.

The Colorado State DI Tournament is Saturday, April 19, in downtown Denver. Pagosa’s six first-place teams will compete against other winners of Colorado’s regional competitions.

Winners of the State Tournament qualify for the DI Global Finals in May at the University of Tennessee. DI teams must raise funds to travel to Globals and greatly appreciate financial support from our school district and also from members of the community.

For more information about Destination Imagination, contact Sally High at

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