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Three to Knoxville

By Staff | Apr 18, 2014

Bryce Berginski/PCT Members of the 4th/5th grade team, “Si-Fi 7” are (from the left) Isaiah Bundy-Smith, Blake Haakenson, Taylor Mayer and Katelyn Duchscher. Not pictured: Christian Loughman, Ryann Schock and Kiah Gault.

For most students, the last week of school comes with anxious anticipation of summer vacation. But for some students in grades 4, 5 and 6 at Ely Elementary, the last week of school means a few days of no classes.

Students in three Destination Imagination teams took first place in their respective events at a competition in Casselton in late March. They will advance to the Global Finals competition, which takes place on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tenn., May 21-24. They will compete against students from 45 states and 14 countries. The teams will do challenges involving arts, as well as science, technology, engineering and math.

A team of fourth-graders, “The Magnetic Six”, did a technical challenge. The challenge involves detecting an object that can’t be seen, capturing it and moving it toward a finish line. The team is coached by James Buckmeier, and is comprised of Gavin Schepp, Noah Wright, Zach Jaeger, Max Schlosser, Kordell Kraft and Jantz Buckmeier.

“Si-Fi 7”, a group of fourth- and fifth-graders including of Blake Haakenson, Christian Loughman, Ryann Schock, Katelyn Duchscher, Taylor Mayer, Kiah Gault and Isaiah Bundy-Smith and coached by Amanda Loughman, competed in an event called “going to extremes.” In their challenge, a character must go to an extreme environment and solve a problem, which was extraterrestrial aliens on earth.

Carmen Buckmeier’s “Fitness Warriors,” a team of sixth graders including Kelsie Ebach, Thaniel Brandt, Casin Buckmeier, Trenton Sanford, Kage Collier and Ethan Brandt, competed in a two-part structural challenge. They had to make up a play in which tension plays a major role, and their play was about an old man with back trouble. They also had to build a structure, using only wood, glue and fishing line, that could withstand weight being placed on it.

Destination Imagination organizers are projecting this year’s event to be huge. Over 1,000 teams are slated to participate, which means the Rugby teams could be facing some stiff competition.

“I hope they’re taking it seriously, and they’re thinking about competing at a national level and improving their challenges to be competitive down there,” said Casey Duchscher, Title I coordinator and an organizer of D.I. at Ely Elementary.

All teams are currently raising needed funds for their trip, and hope to have them by May 12. They have started selling flowers, chocolates, and bracelets and rings. They are also planning to have rummage sales.

The three teams plan to leave for Tennessee on May 19.

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