A team of seven Hayden Middle School students recently placed second in state competition of Destination ImagiNation, earning a trip to the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn., later this month.
The students' eight-minute skit, "Lord of the Fridge," won first place out of 23 state-qualifying middle school teams in Colorado but placed second overall as another team placed higher in the impromptu competition, or "instant challenge."
"They were dang funny," team manager Julie Smith said. "They had the judges rolling. One of the judges said they didn't want the skit to end."
Destination ImagiNation is a competition in which elementary and middle school students use creativity to solve problems. Thousands of students from 47 states, 15 countries and Canadian provinces participate in competitions annually.
The Hayden Middle School team was given the "problem" of creating original cartoon characters and presenting a story about their adventures. They also had to include visual and sound effects and incorporate a two-dimensional object that at some point during their performance turned into a three-dimensional project.
The team chose to be items found in a refrigerator, with fresh fruits as the good guys and rotten dairy products and an insect as the bad guys.
The team consists of Mitchell VeDepo as Buzz the Fly, Zack Engle as Mike the Milk, Ashleigh Muhme as Ashleigh the Apple, Noah Murray as Ralph the Raspberry, Jeremy Engle as Banana Bob, Tyra Monger as Sunrise Sour Cream and Leila Rinker as Blueberry Princess.
"We thought vegetables would be different," VeDepo said. "They are looking for creativity, and we thought it would be kind of goofy."
"Coming from a small town, you have to be creative," Smith said of the team's homemade costumes and set. "There's not a Home Depot down the street."
The teammates said they took advantage of the time between regional and state competition to improve their costumes and backdrop.
In their story, Mike the Milk, whose expiration date indicates he has been spoiled for nearly 100 years, joins with the equally putrid Sunrise Sour Cream and Buzz the Fly to kidnap the Blueberry Princess. The fruits have to battle to get them back, adding hilarious dialogue and a song along the way.
The team earned its trip to state competition in Denver through a regional competition in Rifle, where it placed third.
The trip to the Global Finals, May 26 through 30, in Knoxville will cost almost $1,000 per student. The cost will be paid for in part by the Hayden School District, parents and possibly some grant funding, said Hayden Destination ImagiNation Coordinator Michelle Hoza.