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MEEKER I Since the first grade, when they began participating in Destination ImagiNation, members of a Meeker Elementary School team have imagined advancing to the Global Finals — the ultimate DI event.
Now, they no longer have to imagine. It was their destiny. They’re on their way. Destination: Knoxville, Tenn.
That’s the site of the international event, which began Wednesday and will run through Saturday. The Meeker team is one of 80 teams competing within their challenge at the Global Finals.
Destination ImagiNation is a non-profit organization that offers educational programs for students in more than 30 countries to develop and put into practice skills in creativity, teamwork and problem-solving.
In a send-off Tuesday morning, the Meeker team members received an escort out of town, complete with a fire truck, ambulance and police vehicles, sirens blaring.
The trip was made possible, literally, thanks to a $10,000 contribution from ExxonMobil.
“ExxonMobil is proud of all the Meeker Elementary teams that participated in Destination ImagiNation events this year,” said Matt Briney, ExxonMobil’s Piceance operations superintendent. “We wish the students and their families the best of luck and safe travels as they represent Meeker in this year’s global competition.”
MES Principal Jason Hightower thanked ExxonMobil, which has gas production operations in the Piceance Basin, for its donation toward the team’s travel expenses.
“We truly appreciate ExxonMobil’s continued generous support of Meeker Elementary School and its students,” Hightower said.
Now fifth-graders, members of the globals-bound DI team are: Madeline Amack, Sheridan Harvey, Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Delenn Mobley, Cody Nielsen, Meghan Smith and Casey Turner. Team managers are parents Kellie Turner and Jackie Klinglesmith.
The team — called 7 Newz at 4 — advanced to globals after finishing first at the state tournament April 17 in Denver. They placed first in the challenge Breaking DI News, which involved making a structure out of newspaper and glue. The team’s structure weighed 70 grams and held 745 pounds without crushing. In addition to the team challenge, the group also performed in an instant challenge, where they were given a task to complete in a short time interval. For example, an instant challenge would be building a bridge out of cards, mailing labels and paperclips that hold weight.
“This team has been participating in DI since first grade,” Kellie Turner said. “They have been to the state tournament four times, placing sixth twice and then first this year. This is the third year they have performed in the structure challenge.”
In addition to the first-place team, three other Meeker teams went to state, all performing in different challenges. DND placed sixth in You’re Gonna Flip. The Mighty Tigers placed seventh in Direct DIposit, and The Giant Thinking Brains participated in the DI-Bot challenge.
In Tuesday’s send-off, Principal Jason Hightower congratulated the MES team members as they headed to the Global Finals in the principal’s hometown of Knoxville.