Three Holliston High School Destination Imagination (DI) teams travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee from May 23-27 to compete in the Global Finals as a result of victories at the regional round held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on March 24.
The teams involved include “The Procrastinators,” (Spencer Benoff, Ellie Grosjean, Olivia Skerry, and Renee Torio), “Spontaneous Ham Bone” (Maria Gentile, Olivia Palmer, Hazel Peters, and Jenna Pralat), and “Don and the Duchesses” (Megan Forman, Megan Gentile, and Kelsey Logan).
Team members flew down to the University of Tennessee individually with families. However, teams had lots of preparation before their actual presentations began.
Team leader of the “Procrastinators,” Mrs. Kathy Skerry, before leaving for Globals said, “we are getting ready to ship our props. And recently we made some huge adjustments. Basically, we are just trying to fix anything and rehearse.”
To raise money for the participation cost of $750 per team member, “we even had a ‘Go-Fund Me’ page,” said senior Olivia Palmer. While the page did cover this expense, travel costs were paid for by families.
Globals is a major accomplishment in the world of DI. All three teams believe that it’s enough of a triumph just to have gone.
Sophomore Megan Forman said “Globals is more of a party than a competition. It’s like let’s be friends and have a good time.”
Having worked extremely hard, the teams did not want to worry about competing.
“Our strategy is thinking of it as a celebration for our journey so far. We’re going as a positive thing,” said sophomore Kelsey Logan.
Former judge, Bob Skerry, said that the only thing that these kids should keep in mind is “do your best and have fun. Yes, it’s a competition but it’s also about learning and making friends.”
On the first day, teams participated in a welcoming ceremony in which teams from 15 countries and 45 states were introduced.
“All of the Massachusetts kids are dressed the same,” said Mrs. Skerry.
In addition to the welcoming ceremony, “there are little activities and master classes with incredible people like some who have worked on Broadway. There is even a concert for teenagers,” said sophomore Ellie Grosjean.
When it comes to the actual challenges, the most valuable asset a team can have is “teamwork. You can have all the right players, but you need to know how to play them well,” said Mr. Skerry.
Of the three teams, “The Procrastinators” and “Don and the Duchesses” presented the Fine Arts Challenge where teams had to compose “an original musical with original music and lyrics. It had to have a clear division between act one and act two,” said Logan.
“The Procrastinators” wrote an original musical about social anxiety while “Don and the Duchesses” wrote an original musical about a medieval marriage that captures the ideas of feminism.
Constructing an original musical proved to be a difficult, yet rewarding experience.
“On the first meeting, we each were thinking of totally different concepts,” said sophomore Olivia Skerry. As rehearsal processes continued, ideas narrowed down. “We had to write the script and the music. We also researched anxiety and pulled together our own experiences,” she added.
As for the difficulty of creating a three-person musical, Forman said in a text message, “in the sense of writing alone, it wasn’t an overwhelming challenge since we knew what we were up against. However, we had a limited number of people to play the characters and move set pieces so we had to work with that.”
“Spontaneous Ham Bone” selected the improv challenge which is called “Treasure.” The challenge required them to research different explorers and artifacts from different places. The team then has to create a five minute skit live with very little preparation.
While at globals, teams will also have the opportunity to watch the other challenges ranging from scientific to structural.
All challenges require team members to think outside of the box.
“For me, DI has been a creative outlet,” said Forman. “It’s been a opportunity to take things that I’ve thought of and make it happen.”
Mrs. Skerry said that what she loves most about DI is that it “teaches kids how to fail. Sometimes challenges work and sometimes they don’t. It’s a very important life skill. Especially for being out in the real world.”
photos by Renee Torio