Day 102: Missouri State DI Competition

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On March 1, Day 60 for me, I attended the Carl Junction Destination Imagination (DI) competition. My grandson, Dayan, and his team competed and won 2nd place in their category, qualifying them for the state competition. Today, for my first, I attended the MO State DI Competition, conveniently held in Joplin this year, to watch Dayan’s team compete at a high level.

The last 6 weeks have been challenging for this group of teens, most of whom are freshmen in high school. They have school, homework, extracurricular activities and lives to enjoy with families and friends. And yet, they dedicated themselves to spending a great deal of time preparing for the state competition, staying late after school and conferring with each other via texts and phone calls when they were away from school.

Their skit, “Live and Let Fly”, dealt with the challenge they were given for DI: EXTREMES. Their points of interest were to explore an extreme environment, present a story in which the characters must survive in an extreme environment, design and create extreme gear that is demonstrated, and design and create a depiction of the extreme environment. As I noted in the earlier blog post, the kids create and write the skit, develop the characters, create the backdrops and props and put together the costumes, all without adult help. At the local competition I was amazed at their creativity and ingenuity.

For the state competition, this energetic group decided to improve on their skit and focus more on the extreme environment they had decided to explore, Venus. This was not an easy task when you have a team of seven, with seven different opinions and ideas. However, two of the important skills learned during Destination Imagination are compromise and learning to work as a team, giving each member a voice. They worked diligently on creating the best skit they could, that met the challenge they had been given.

I was a bit nervous this morning, as I took my seat in MSSU’s Phelps Theater. I loved their original skit. How could they improve on that? Dayan’s group was the first team to perform. As they set up their backdrops and assembled before the judges, I had a moment of panic. I couldn’t find Dayan! Surely they wouldn’t start the skit without him! Then my eyes came to rest on the tall, slender figure in the long black cape. With the hood pulled up and a mask over his lower face, only his bright, dark eyes were showing. There he was. The costumes had changed slightly. My grandson had been trying to get my attention and I had almost missed him.

I was, once again, amazed by their performance. Humorous, scientific, technology based and relevant to the challenge of surviving in an extreme environment, the skit was spot on. This is one talented group of young adults. The judges asked questions after the skit and thanked them for starting their day, and the competition, in such a great way. I loved their performance, and apparently, so did the judges. They took 3rd place at State. I’m so proud of Dayan and so proud of the team for their creativity, persistence and teamwork. Way to go! And now, enjoy some of the free time you’ll hopefully have back, after weeks of hard work!

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Judges, in the bright costumes, ask the team questions after the skit.

Day 60: Destination Imagination: Live and Let Fly Skit

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As a grandmother, Yaya to my two grandkids, I do my best to attend all their activities. It’s not that I have to force myself to go! I enjoy having both of them living nearby and participating in their lives. Today’s first, watching my grandson Dayan and his team perform their Live and Let Fly skit in competition, was a special treat.

Dayan, who is a freshman in high school, and his six other team members, took part in the Destination Imagination competition today at his school. Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization with the purpose of inspiring and equipping students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. This unique drama program gives the kids a challenge and then steps back, allowing them to create and produce their own solution, in the form of a skit, without any adult input. Dayan’s group had the challenge of “extremes”.  They chose to create a skit about a ship traveling toward Venus. Their fuel source runs low and they are forced to make use of “extreme” technology to survive in an “extreme” environment.

I was amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of the team. They worked together many weeks, meeting after school, creating characters, writing a script, memorizing lines and making props and costumes, all on their own. And the actual skit was incredible. The lines were clever, the storyline humorous and they nailed the challenge. I was quite impressed with their props, especially the “botanical air supply and sulfuric protector” device that they dreamed up for their extreme technology. Someone may have a future in space exploration!

I admire these young people. At such a tender age, they are stepping beyond their comfort zones and letting their creative souls shine brightly. They are also learning the power of teamwork, allowing each member to have a voice and share ideas. And they have fun. Watching the way they encouraged each other and joked and laughed brought a smile to this Yaya’s face.

Apparently the judges appreciated Dayan and his team’s efforts as well. They won 2nd place and now advance to the state competition.  I’m so proud of them all! Live and Let Fly, indeed.

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