Murray Elementary Sends Two Teams to the DI Global Tournament

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By Kristine Terrell

Bottom left to back: Will Stalfort, Teddy Bird, Garrett Livermon, Sam Stalfort, Trevor Plesko, Lucas Adam (in green suit). Girls left to right:  Kathleen Hughes, Libby Terrell, Sydney Dutton, Anna Livermon. Teammates missing from photo: Evan Hajek, Helen Snyder, Addie Patterson, Sam Duska
Bottom left to back: Will Stalfort, Teddy Bird, Garrett Livermon, Sam Stalfort, Trevor Plesko, Lucas Adam (in green suit). Girls left to right: Kathleen Hughes, Libby Terrell, Sydney Dutton, Anna Livermon. Teammates missing from photo: Evan Hajek, Helen Snyder, Addie Patterson, Sam Duska

The Virginia state Destination ImagiNation tournament was held April 13 at Western Albemarle High School with the top teams moving on to represent Virginia in the Destination ImagiNation global tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee in late May. Twelve elementary school teams were selected from Virginia, three of which are from Albemarle County Public Schools and two of these are from Virginia L. Murray’s fifth grade class.  The other two are from Brownsville and Woodbrook Elementaries.

Destination ImagiNation, or DI as the students call it, is part of the culture among the fifth grade class at Murray with close to one third of the students participating. The teachers and the staff fully encourage the program, which is designed to foster teamwork and creative problem solving by completing a long-term project (challenge) and a quick-thinking task.  With only two classrooms per grade, students at V.L. Murray are all friends. “We couldn’t pick the same challenge as they did, because we didn’t want to compete against them,” remembers Kathleen Hughes from the DI’Ablos team.

The DI’Ablos team answered a fine arts challenge that entailed presenting a story about a character that wears a disguise. They were not allowed to use any verbal communication and they needed to have at least two characters that wore masks.

“We needed to keep our story simple so that people could understand it because we couldn’t use any words,” said team member Will Stalfort. Their story is about the creative attempts of a school of fish that try to woo girl jellyfish. The DI’Ablos won first place at the Jefferson regional tournament March 2 and received the Renaissance Award, which recognizes exceptional skill in design or performance. They then went on to place first at the state tournament in their challenge, qualifying them for Globals. The DI’Albos are Lucas Adam, Teddy Bird, Evan Hajek, Kathleen Hughes, Will Stalfort, Sam Stalfort and Libby Terrell.

The DiNamites team mastered a scientific challenge about wind energy. They were required to teach scientific concepts within their presentation and to design and create a piece of kinetic art that would move continuously for 15 seconds using energy from the wind. They also had to incorporate an “Invisible Visitor” that could only be “seen” by the use of stagecraft. Their interesting introduction to Greek gods and their use of humor set this presentation apart from its rivals. Apex Wind Energy Company visited with the team to help them learn about wind energy. “They taught us a lot and the snacks were delish, so we wanted to have them be part of our story,” said Anna Livermon, team member. The DiNamites placed second at the state tournament in their challenge and also qualified for Globals. The DiNamites are Sam Duska, Sydney Dutton, Anna Livermon, Garret Livermon, Addie Patterson, Trevor Plesko and Helen Snyder.

The two teams are working together in the next several weeks on fundraising to offset the costs of their trip to Tennessee. They have already sold lemonade and popcorn at two school functions wearing tutus, which is meant to represent their fundraising slogan, 2ToGlobals.  They will be having a yard sale at the V.L. Murray school Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.