Imagination brings students success
Foothill team takes second place in Global Finals, wins Renaissance Award
Six sophomores from Foothill High School set out to use their problem-solving, teamwork and creative skills in the Global Finals of Destination Imagination on May 23, and ended up in second place.
The program gives students from kindergarten to college level an environment that stimulates them to think on their feet and work together.
"Destination Imagination (has) taught me not only tangible skills, like using power tools and electrical wiring, but also abstract skills like communication and thinking outside the box," said Melissa Muller, a member of the Foothill team, "It's an Ego Thing."
This was the first year that the team -- Muller, Ryan Hobbs, Shona McCarthy, Alex Monks, Nadia Siddiqi and Nick Soldati qualified for the Global Finals, which were held in Knoxville, Tenn.
More than 1,200 teams competed in the five-day national event; the Foothill team faced 78 others in the senior division, ultimately beating all but one of them.
"Global finals was a little overwhelming," Muller admitted. "It felt a little like the mini Olympics, with countries (participating) from all over the world."
"It's an Ego Thing" undertook the Coming Attractions Challenge at the Global Finals. This required the group to closely examine two historical cultures -- the Aztecs and the Celts -- and create a live movie trailer to perform in front of the judges.
This was a Team Challenge, as opposed to Instant Challenges where groups must provide a solution on the spot, so the six students had months to prepare, which included formulating a story, designing costumes, constructing sets, writing the script, and generating a soundtrack.
With a $125 budget, the students had to be resourceful with props: They used 2,750 magazine pieces to represent the beads of an Aztec king, and they combined candy wrappers and fabric remnants to create an ocean.
"This mesmerizing movie trailer transported the audience and (judges) into an ancient world," the judges declared. "Every element of the presentation came together to create a powerful experience that brought tears to the eyes."
The team won the Renaissance Award, which is granted to the team that displays the most effort and participation, as well as the second-place title.
"Winning second place was absolutely incredible," Muller said. "It was like a group of people could look at what we did and all the hard work we put in, and say, 'That's something special.'"