Eight Wylie Destination Imagination teams are headed to state after earning 1st or 2nd place at the Greater Fort Worth Regional DI tournament in February.
“When they announce you are 1st place, you are like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” said Carlee Nelson, a 5th-grader on the team Chalk It Up. “I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Teammate Ryleigh Green agreed.
“You can’t describe the feeling,” Ryleigh said. “We screamed and jumped up and down.”
Wylie took 12 teams to the regional tournament, and all 12 placed. Five won 1st place in their divisions and got automatic bids to state. Three others won 2nd place and found out later that they were the highest ranked 2nd place teams in the state, so they got wildcard bids to the state competition.
In addition Colton McClellan and Christian Barbian won Magellan Awards for participating in all of the DI challenges over the years. Both are juniors at Wylie High School.
Wylie also had two teams earn 3rd place awards and two others earn 6th place honors. The regional competition included almost 300 teams from schools of all classifications, so placing in the top 6 is a difficult accomplishment.
The state-bound teams represent students from almost every campus in the Wylie school district.
“We have kids from West Elementary, from the Intermediate, from the Middle School and Junior High and High School,” said DI director Kim Cheek. “I could not be any happier that we have such a great representation of all our campuses.”
At the state meet in Corpus Christi on March 22-23, the teams battled other top teams in the state for a chance to go to the Global Finals. Those results were not available at press time. Check WylieGrowl.com for state results.
Destination Imagination is a creative problem-solving program in which teams of students pick a challenge and spend most of the school year creating solutions that are presented at competition in short 6-8 minutes skits. The students have to research solutions, write scripts, and create costumes, props and backdrops using recyclables and other materials.
The team Chalk It Up picked the Project Outreach challenge and decided they wanted to honor first responders.
“My stepfather is a firefighter,” Ryleigh said. “I don’t think he gets the appreciation he deserves, so I suggested we do something for first responders.”
The team had to brainstorm for a community service project to bring awareness to the contributions of first responders.
“Someone said chalk war,” Carlee said. “We were like yes. We love that.”
So the team hosted an event in which they sold hot chocolate, popcorn and bags of chalk. An ambulance and fire truck also were on display. But the real fun began when the war kicked off.
“We all ran and threw the chalk,” Ryleigh said. “One of my friends just poured chalk all of over my head.”
“A lot of the people were drenched in chalk,” Carlee said. “It was cool to see everyone so colorful.”
The students used the proceeds to make a bench to honor first responders. The team also had to create a skit to present at competition representing their community service effort.
“Our skit is about bugs that are stuck under bleachers, and they find first responders who help them,” said Campbell McCray, another member of the team.
Campbell said the team got its inspiration for the characters in the skit from actually going under the bleachers and looking around.
“We went under the bleachers — with adult supervision – and looked for things that we could be,” he said. “I saw a spider web and knew there must be a spider. So I decided to be a spider.”
Someone else chose to be a wad of chewing gum, and someone else a discarded bag of popcorn.
Campbell, who was in DI for the first time, said he loved the program.
“All of us working together to accomplish this goal would be my favorite thing,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome. It’s just amazing what we’ve accomplished.”
DI takes lots and lots of work, with teams meeting weekly and even on weekends most of the school year. But Ryleigh said it is worth the effort.
“You learn to think on the spot, and you get to work with some amazing friends,” she said. “I think it is worth it. You learn a whole lot, and it’s fun.”
Here are the students who are going to state:
Chalk It Up, (5th grade), 1st place and 1st in instant challenge.
Team Managers: Allison Cowling and Jennifer Heidema
Team members: Steven Cowling, Joshua Heidema, Campbell McCray, Payton Hill, Daisy Smith, Ryleigh Green and Carlee Nelson.
Pickled Leprechauns, (5th grade-7th grade), 1st place
Team Managers: Tiffany Keasler, Julianna Delacot and Valerie Anderson
Team members: Ryan Ross, Ryan Butler, Sadie Mae Todd, Jacob Brouse, Emily McBride, Aubrey Hammond and Kennedy Hanson.
*forced laughter*, Wylie High School, 1st place
Team Managers: Renee McClellan and David Sauley
Team members: Maddie Cole, Bailey Buck, Eden Sauley, Christian Barbian, Zach Binkley, Colton McClellan and Declan Sauley.
Oddly Uncommon, Wylie High School, 1st place
Team Managers: Angel Buck, Jessica Griffith Carpenter, Diana Cousins
Team members: Carlie Buck, Cerys White, Keily Perkins, Savannah Alvarez, Avery Cousins and Logan Jones.
Screaming Banana Goats – Wylie High School, 1st place.
Team Manager: Kim Bruton and Jennifer Heidema
Team members: Joshua Fenton, Wyatt Edmiston, Jared Heidema, Kyla Flanagan and Dayra Figuero.
May-Ham – Wylie High School, 2nd place
Team Managers: Kim Bruton and Kim Cheek
Team members: Colton McClellan, Christian Barbian, Madison Truax, Hayden Uphoff and Ashley Fenton.
Boom! The Purple Alliance Team (3rd-5th grade), 2nd place.
Team Managers: Aimee Agee and Valerie Anderson
Team members: Aaliya Agee, Alexia Agee, Daniel Sanchez, Benton Hanner, Eva Surratt, Sanaa Salvi and Lily McClendon.
Metallic Chickens, (6th grade), 2nd place.
Team Managers: Tonya McElyea, Melissa Bulls, Michelle Burleson, Julie Page
Team members: Kyle Page, Abby Bulls, McKenzie McElyea, Kelsie Burleson, Avery Nelson and Sheridan Johnson.