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Liberty’s Destination Imagination teams advance to state meet

Original, savvy thinking steered Destination Imagination (DI) teams from Liberty Middle School in a recent showdown of skill.

Liberty’s eighth- and ninth-grade teams both advanced to the affiliate state tournament on April 14 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The seventh-grade team also competed.

The ninth-grade team earned second place locally. Members are Brett McCracken, Skyler Mittman, Malcolm Manning, Megan Mayfield, Rachel Breece, Hannah McMillen, Haelin Oh and team manager Leslie Hughes.

Eighth-graders receiving third place locally are Sara Turner, Alyssa Hinze, Arvind Draffen, Ethan Canup, Rachael Cashulette, Michelle Abreo, Meredith Jordan and manager Hughes.

The seventh-grade team, competing in Challenge C, “Coming Attractions,” for fine arts, were Chris Morris, Grace Cathey, Joshua English, Amber Kyle, Ashanti Davis and team managers Kenneth and Jeanine Morris.

DI teams gain teamwork, communication and creativity skills, with an introduction to skills they won’t face in the classroom, Hughes said. She teaches eighth-grade advanced language arts. “DI challenges can’t be solved with simple solutions.”

The eighth- and ninth-grade teams both entered the improvisational Challenge D, “News to Me.” Students incorporated a national news story into a skit.

“The appraising team provides a local news story,” Hughes said. In four minutes, the team planned a skit showing a cause-effect relationship between the two news stories.

After four minutes, the team receives the “‘OMG,’ a phrase that significantly changes an important element of the skit (such as, ‘All characters are dogs’). The team has one minute to incorporate the OMG,” Hughes said.

Liberty teams have met twice weekly since September. Members are in grades 7-9 and maintain a “C” average or higher and think outside of the box, she said.

Three years ago, Hughes decided to sponsor DI after seeing the creativity and teamwork skills of DI students who think on their own and to present work with higher-order thinking skills.

“DI allows kids that think differently from the crowd to express their creativity in … ideas that don’t go with the mainstream way of thinking,” Hughes said.

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