CHIMACUM — Five Chimacum Middle School students are heading to Tennessee to compete in a competition for the STEM-based program Destination Imagination, where they will compete against teams from around the world.
The team, named Monk E. Incorporated, earned first place at the regional tournament in Silverdale in March and second place in the state tournament in Wenatchee on April 1. Because it earned just a few points less than the first-place team, it was invited to compete against more than 8,000 other students in the global tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., set from May 23-28.
“It’s like the Olympics for Destination Imagination,” said Anna Phillips, team manager for Monk E. Incorporated. “It’s a big thing, especially for a team from Chimacum. It’s a big thing to see all these kids from around the world doing the same thing they’re doing.”
Team members are currently trying to raise $12,000 to help cover the costs of transportation, hotels, the competition registration fee and the shipping costs for their props, set and costumes.
“We’re leaving the 22nd of May so it would be good to have the trip paid for before we leave,” Phillips said. “We’re going to find a way to go even if we have to raise the money after the fact. These students have worked far too hard to not go.”
The team has set up its own site to collect donations at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-destinationimagination and had raised $1,538 there as of Monday.
Checks also can be made out to Chimacum Middle School DI ASB and dropped off at Chimacum Middle School or mailed to the school at 91 West Valley Road, Chimacum, WA 98325.
Destination Imagination is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program in which teams of students select a challenge and then present a solution in an eight-minute presentation or play.
“There had to be a gadget that did something unexpected,” Eugenia Frank said. “We also had to have a disguised character, which tested our acting since it has to be a dramatic portrayal and there are to be two codes. One we rehearsed and another we had to decode on stage.”
The team also had an opportunity to show off special skills in a “team choice” element. Members chose to go with Esther Gleeman’s gymnastics while the Frank sisters — Eugenia and Viola — wrote and sang two songs.
The team is the third team from Chimacum in 20 years to make it to the global competition.
This year’s team — which is composed of seventh-grade students Ava Amos, Gleeman, Eugenia Frank, Viola Frank and Moe Gardner — have worked together for three years.
The past two years, the team tackled the challenge related to fine arts, but this year they chose a more scientific challenge called “Top Secret” because it involved a secret mission and code breaking.
“As we looked at the challenges we all just kind of decided we liked this one better,” Gleeman said.
While the challenge was more science-based than those the team chose in earlier years, it incorporated aspects of fine arts and engineering.
Most members of the team had qualified for the state tournament before. According to Phillips, Chimacum School District regularly sends a handful of teams to state competition from the middle school, elementary and high school levels.
This year, one other team from Chimacum at the high school level made it to the state tournament but didn’t move on to the global competition.