Three Hayden Destination Imagination teams recently qualified for the state competition later this month.
Teams from Hayden Middle School and Hayden Valley Elem-entary School placed among the top three teams in their competition categories at a regional event held April 2 in Rifle. They will head to the state finals at the University of Denver on April 30.
Destination Imagination is a national program that encourages students' creativity and problem-solving skills through unique skits and mind puzzlers.
Four Hayden teams -- two from the middle school and two from the elementary school -- have been busy researching topics, building sets and devising their skits since choosing their challenges early this year.
The middle school's "Live! It's Radio DI" team placed first among eight teams in its category. The team, which incorporated zany characters and stories into a radio broadcast, won a Renaissance Award for its innovative use of sound effects.
Walking boards, a little girl's shoes and a homemade wind machine were just a few of the students' sound devices.
"They had a sound for everything," DI coordinator Michelle Hoza said. "It was incredible."
Team members are Noah Murray, Mitchell VeDepo, Jeremy and Zachary Engle, Ashleigh Muhme and Tyra Monger.
The middle school "Improving Along" team placed second among four teams in Rifle. It also won a Renaissance Award for humor and character development in its skit about transportation.
The team rolled a die at the competition to determine which of 12 previously researched transportation modes they would depict in the skit. In only 30 minutes, the Hayden team built a bus out of cardboard boxes and came up with a funny story involving bugs getting stuck in the driver's teeth.
"It just worked together very well," Hoza said.
Team members are Kaitlyn Jezo, Delaney VeDepo, Hannah Meade, Krista Tomke, Jake Rosendale, Brian Hoza and Damian Corbin.
The Renaissance Awards were a big honor for the middle school teams. Only four awards were given at the competition, which included teams from across the Western Slope.
The elementary "Improving Along" team also placed second out of three teams for its skit, which incorporated a baby stroller into a story involving an evil witch and a cow that needed cheering up during the adventure.
Team members are Taylor Bridges, Aspen Zabel, Meghan Jezo, Olivia Zehner, Becca Hoza, Josh Corbin and Garrett O'Hanlon.
A second elementary school team, which took on the "Live! It's Radio DI" challenge, faced 17 other teams in its category, the stiffest competition in Rifle. The team tied for sixth place.
Team members were Erin Koehler, Abby Engle, Beth Leck, Kayla Dunckley, Ryan Fralick, Ian Cadenhead and Belle Mazzola.
In addition to performing their main challenges, teams also contended with an instant challenge or problem given to them by judges at the competition. Students had a time limit to come up with a solution.
Parents or team managers have helped clarify problems for students and kept them on track during the Destination Imagination process, but all creativity is up to the students. Parents cannot give them suggestions.
The state competition will include winners from seven regional competitions -- about 21 to 24 teams in each category, Hoza said.
The Hayden teams will be polishing their routines until the end of the month.
Some bigger school districts on the Front Range have incorporated Destination Imagination into their curriculums, allowing students more time, and often more resources, to prepare their challenges, Hoza said.
"We always try to keep that in mind and bump it up a little bit," Hoza said.
The top two teams in each category at state will qualify for the Global Finals in May. One Hayden Middle School team made it last year, and there's a good chance one or more teams may qualify this year, she said.
"I'm gearing myself up for that," Hoza said. "We'll have to do some fund raising."
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail email@example.com.