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Beloit 5th Grade Students Head to Global Competition in May

BELOIT—Six fifth-grade students from Fruzen Intermediate School in Beloit will head to Kansas City, Missouri May 21—24 to participate in the Destination Imagination Global competition after the team won the regional tournament.

Team manager Terri Gile said the program is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help encourage children to become creative problem solvers, work on teamwork skills and goal setting. Gile has been involved with the program since the 1990s when she helped her children on the team and is now manager for the team her granddaughter, Brooklyn VanMarter, is on.

“The whole program is student-led,” Gile said. “As a team manager, I’m hands-off. I can’t create anything, and I can’t give them ideas. All I can do is supply materials that they want to need.”

Gile said she will often ask team members a lot of questions to help guide them. Gile will ask questions like, “How else could you do that? What might make that structure stronger?” She considers herself a facilitator for the team.

Part of the competition has been putting on a skit about a “trickster.” To prepare, the team researched what a trickster has done in history. They also had to research optical illusions and costume changes for the skit as well.

The team watched videos of different Broadway show costume changes like in the play Frozen and Cinderella. For the optical illusion, they made a skit about an “elf on the shelf” and created fake legs out of tights, who the elf looks like it is sitting on a mantel.

During practice at Todd Elementary School on April 25, the team practiced exercises where they attempted to build a bridge between two chairs by using a paper plate and strips of paper. However, the students could not speak to each other and could only communicate by shaking their heads, hand signals and by using gestures.

The students have been working together since before Christmas time. They had their regional competition back in March where they won first place in their category and then they went to the state competition a few weeks ago.

All the students have enjoyed going to these competitions to showcase their skills and meet other students.

“It was exhilarating. It was fun to get to know the people and bond with them,” said Brooklynn VanMarter.

“It was cool to be able to see how other skits were put together and how we did things,” said Olivia Giles.

Madison Leavy enjoys the creative part of the competition and coming up with the different skits with her team.

Pineas Balliett has not been part of the team competition and was a little apprehensive at first at the competitions.

“It’s pretty scary at times,” Balliett said. “I’ve had fun with everyone here. My team helps me and I focus on the task at hand.”