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Fauquier Destination Imagination team places 10th in Global Competition

Friday, May. 30 | By Fauquier Times Staff
The team getting ready to compete at the Global Destination Imagination Tournament.
Courtesy Photo
Even competing a person short, the combination Liberty/Fauquier High School team placed 10th at the Destination Imagination Global Finals competition held May 21-24 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Destination Imagination encourages creativity, responsibility for the solution of a long-term project, and teamwork.

Making the trip to Globals for the third and final time since they’ve been together were seniors Matt David and Andy Rockefeller from Liberty High School and Hannah Abeel and Brent Shultz from Fauquier High School – minus team member Lizzi Berger from LHS, who was unable to make the trip. The five students first formed their DI team when they were all sixth graders at Taylor Middle School.

Approximately 1,500 teams from around the world participated in Globals. The LHS/FHS team was one of 73 competing in the “Pandemonium” improvisational category; in this category, over a period of several months, teams researched 10 occupations from the past from specific time periods and researched facial makeup from options of animal, fantasy, doll, Kabuki, clown and monster. At each level of competition – regional, state and Globals – they were randomly given one of their research occupations from the past, an unknown occupation from the future and an assigned facial makeup that had to be incorporated together during an original five-minute improvisational skit, showing how the characters work, using the time period, their occupations and skills to deal with pandemonium (the problem). On tournament day each team must perform its solution before a group of appraisers who score their work
While many of the 73 teams competing in the Pandemonium category were from around the United States, others were from China, Turkey, British Columbia, South Korea, Guatemala, Poland and Nova Scotia.

Jennifer Rockefeller, who manages the local team along with her husband Brian, said the Fauquier/Liberty team met a long-time goal at this year’s Globals by making the top 10.

“From the first time the Liberty/Fauquier team went to Globals, their goal was to get their name on the jumbotron in the University of Tennessee Thompson-Boiling Arena. Only the top 10 teams get put there. The Liberty/Fauquier team placed 10th, getting their name on the jumbotron! They were quite excited!” she said.

This is the second year in a row that this team has been the top Virginia team in its category. The other two Virginia teams placed 43rd and 44th this year.
The Fauquier County team also received another honor at this year’s Globals. In addition to the overall winner in each team challenge category, a first-place winner is also named in each category’s Instant Challenge where teams are given a task and/or a performance-based challenge which they must solve on the spot. The Instant Challenge winner is not always one of the top 10 teams. Only a few points away from first place in the Instant Challenge, the LHS/FHS team landed in fourth place, which put them in the top 5 percent in the world in their category.

Team co-manager Brian Rockefeller said he had never seen the team problem solve and work together as well as they did, completing the challenge well under the time allotted. Their challenge was to create a device or devices to retrieve ping pong balls placed on top of pegs in a large metal tub of water. The pegs were at different heights, and only one ball could be retrieved at a time. They were given only four attempts to complete the challenge, and with each failed attempt or with each ball knocked off, the water level was raised, consuming any of the lower ping pong balls.

The LHS/FHS team created three devices retrieving all ping pong balls in record time. Points were awarded for teamwork, creativity of the devices and number of ping pong balls retrieved.

Destination Imagination offers a graduation ceremony to all high school seniors and college seniors because for some of the teams participating in the Global Finals, the timing falls during many of the seniors’ graduation ceremonies back home. This year approximately 300 students participated. Since Hannah, Matt, Brent and Andy are all seniors, they chose to participate and represent their schools.

“Being together for so long yet at different schools, it was a real joy that they could walk together across the stage in the ceremony yet wearing their own school colors,” said Mrs. Rockefeller. They each received a certificate recognizing their participation with Destination Imagination over the past years. Mrs. Rockefeller said the ceremony was bittersweet as this was the team’s last competition.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments and the growth of each student over the past seven years,” she said.

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