The destination for young imaginations was East Liverpool High School as elementary and middle school students from around Columbiana and Stark counties converged on the school campus for this year's Destination ImagiNation Ohio Region 13 tournament on Saturday. Teams from local school districts, including Beaver, Columbiana, Crestview, East Liverpool, Leetonia and Southern worked out a challenge from several categories that differed in the subjects addressed, but all required cooperation and creative thinking to resolve.
Students participating in the "Coming Attractions" challenge were tasked to present a mock movie preview trailer featuring characters from at least two nations, a cinematic special effect and original soundtrack music to accompany their live-action presentation. Beaver Local Middle School seventh-graders Laurel Meredith, David McCullough and Alex Gabbert, and eighth-graders Lindsey Floyd, James Gabbert and Claire Meredith presented a sneak-peek of "Jamaican Rampage," in which an Indian doctor helps the residents of a coastal Jamaican village fight back against an evil, venomous lionfish that is menacing all who venture near the water.
"Coming to theaters in 2000-never," they assured the audience.
Beaver Local Middle School students (front row) Laurel Meredith, Lindsey Floyd and Claire Meredith, and (back row) James Gabbert, Alex Gabbert and David McCullough participated in the “Coming Attractions” challenge during Saturday’s Destination ImagiNation event on the East Liverpool High School campus. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
Lindsey Floyd said the idea came to the team members after deciding on Jamaica and India, which they felt were two less obvious nations. "We found out that the lionfish were overpopulating, and it was becoming a problem, so we exaggerated it by making them evil and bigger," she said. "And deadly," James Gabbert added. They expressed confidence in their chances of scoring well in the final judging.
The team was managed by Keith Meredith, who said that the students have been preparing for Saturday's presentation since the end of last November. "This is what we look forward to all year, this is what we wait for," he said. He proudly stated that Beaver Local's "Coming Attractions" team had won last year, going on to claim regional and state crowns, and placing well at the global finals at the University of Tennessee, which featured Destination ImagiNation teams from 30 countries.
"To watch these kids, it will draw you right in," he said happily. "I'll do this until they graduate."
According to Bill Smith, a parent-volunteer with Ohio DI Region 13, "The goal is to get kids who may not be active in other things to be able to show their talent and work together as a team." He explained that "Coming Attractions" is a fine-arts based challenge, requiring students to write and perform the skit, choose the music and wardrobe, and design and build the backdrop. Other challenges, such as "Assembly Required" and "Hold It!" utilize design, engineering and math skills.
Smith emphasized that the students must work on their projects with no adult help. "They have to come up with all the solutions to their challenges on their own," he said. This was the first year that East Liverpool had hosted the tournament, and he praised the school for its involvement with the program. "It's been a great day," he said. "We've had great support from the district."