Fourteen Hayden students excelled in Destination ImagiNation regional competition in Rifle this past weekend and earned a trip to the state competition to be held April 24 at the University of Denver.
One of the two teams from Hayden Valley Elementary School placed first, and won the Renaissance Award for demonstrating extraordinary amounts of effort and preparation. A team from Hayden Middle School finished third.
The group, consisting of Lindsay Parrot, Brian Hoza, Lanette Laman, Erin Koehler, Abby Engle, Ryan Fralick, Meghan Jezo and team managers Medora Fralick and Susan Koehler, were honored for their theatrical presentation in the category "The Plot and the Pendulum."
In "The Plot and the Pendulum," the students had to create a story with two endings. They also had to build a working pendulum to symbolize the plot swings.
"They had great characterization, and their pendulum was the only one that worked the first time," Hayden Destination ImagiNation Coordinator Michelle Hoza said.
A group of four judges wrote that the Hayden team's humor and story line using a fork in the road to demonstrate the point where the story took off with its two endings "worked perfectly."
"Their side trip of puns and humor were cleverly interwoven with their props to create an outstanding performance and solution to their challenge," a judge wrote."
Team manager Susan Koehler said it was amazing the team did so well given that it changed its plot several times to the point where the one it performed was "very fresh."
Engle said the team changed its plot "not a little -- a lot," but the whole team agreed their changes made their story better.
"I didn't think we'd get first, so it was a shock," Brian Hoza said.
The students also performed well in their impromptu "instant challenge," which was to communicate without talking. They said they felt comfortable with nonverbal challenge because they had practiced it extensively.
Members of the third-place middle school team were confident going into the event.
"We were thinking we were going to (qualify for) state and we did," team member Noah Murray said.
Teammate Mitchell VeDepo said the team got confidence from a practice performance in front of the elementary school.
"That's when we first time saw how many people like it," VeDepo said. "All the kids laughed when they saw it."
The middle school team received the third-place honors in the "Cartoons in Dimensions" category.
"The middle school team hasn't been to state in a number of years, so it's very exciting," Michelle Hoza said.
"Cartoons in Dimensions" requires students to create original cartoon characters and present a story about their adventures. They must have a visual and sound effect in their presentation, and the visual effect must involve a two-dimensional object turning into a three-dimensional object.
The team, consisting of Murray, VeDepo, Jeremy Engle, Zachary Engle, Ashleigh Muhme, Tyra Monger, Leila Rinker and team manager Julie Smith used a "cootie-catcher" for their two- to three-dimensional object, and presented a story about a people-like fruit and vegetable society. Their elaborate costumes added to the humor and helped them place at the regional competition, Michelle Hoza said.
A second team from Hayden Valley Elementary School also competed in the "Cartoons in Dimensions" category at regional competition and placed seventh out of 20 other teams.
This category was more popular than "The Plot and the Pendulum," as it had the most competitors, making it the toughest category, Michelle Hoza said.
The team consists of Jake Rosendale, Hannah Meade, Cassidy Bush, Delanie VeDepo, Taylor Bridges, Josephine Adanski, Kayla Dunckley and team managers Pat Rosendale and Sandy Meade.
"They did an awesome job," Michelle Hoza said. "Placing seventh out of 20 teams is very good. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough for them to go to state."
Having two teams from Hayden qualified for Denver is consistent with the past five years, when one or two teams have gone to state competition.