Hayden students thrive in Destination ImagiNation

— Queen Elizabeth was coming for a visit, and the challenge was to put her to work doing household chores.

Students from Hayden Valley Elementary School's Destination ImagiNation team had 10 minutes to come up with the improvised scene Wednesday while practicing for the squad's regional competition March 8.

The team is one of four Hayden School District teams that participate in the competition, which is designed to encourage children in kindergarten through high school to use their imaginations and work as a team in order to solve complex problems.

Teams compete in a variety of categories including theatrical, technical, structural and improvisational. Each team has anywhere from three to seven members and one or two team managers, who must act only as supervisors and are prohibited from assisting the team in its solution.

A team is required to perform two tasks during competitions. The team must first perform an eight-minute solution to a long-term challenge that is presented to teams at the beginning of the school year. Second, the team is required to complete an "Instant Challenge" - an improvised performance ranging from completely dramatic to highly technical.

Laura Johnson, a fifth-grader, said what she likes most about Destination ImagiNation's theatrical competition is the acting.

"I just like being creative and coming up with your own ideas," said Laura, who competes alongside her sister, Emma Johnson, and teammates Millie Delaney, Abby Cadenhead and Shaelynn Salazar.

"We have to draw out of a hat a regular chore, and we have to come up with a skit," said Laura, describing the theatrical competition. "And then we have an obstacle, which is to pick a famous person. We get one minute to put that into our skit."

Hayden's elementary school has three teams, while Hayden High School has one.

Parent Julie Smith, team manager for the high school team that includes her son, Noah Murray, said the best part of watching a Destination ImagiNation competition is seeing the students' creative abilities shine.

"There are not a lot of arts in schools anymore, and this is something different than 4-H and sports," she said. "They can show their technical or mechanical abilities as well, but being able to put it all together in a short period of time is very impressive."

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