Last week a group of students proved that hard work, teamwork and even a sense of humor truly can lead to success.
Led by managers Terry McDermott and Kim Rose the five young women; Nupur Neogi, Emily Bartnicki, Sakshi Jhawar, Jess Nussbaum and Vicky McDermott make up the Destination Imagination Team, “Not Your Average Flying Pigs.”
There is, of course, no doubt that flying pigs are not particularly average and, on that same note, neither is this team. Together, Not Your Average Flying Pigs, won the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament, went on to win the State Tournament and was able to compete in the Desttination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville Tennessee on May 23.
Alongside teams representing 42 states and 22 countries, Not You Average Flying Pigs competed in two challenges geared towards creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork.
The team challenge, "News to Me," consisted of the team finding six recent news stories from preselected categories prior to heading to the tournament.
At the competition the judges randomly selected one of the stories along with another, random, news story and, from there, as McDermott explained, “The team then had four minutes to improvise a creative skit based upon a cause and effect relationship between their own randomly selected story and the random headline they had been given."
Other aspects of their improvised skit were that they had to include "human props" in the skit (i.e. two team members might create a table with their arms) and they had to include an OMG or "one minute glitch" into the performance - the glitch was that one minute before they were to perform they were told they must include some crazy detail, i.e. "all characters are Martians.”
Next on the list was the “Instant Challenge.” This challenge is some sort of brain teaser, usually with a five to eight minute time limit, which can be task based or performance based.
Each challenge is scored by the judges and the final “team score” is based on a combination of the two. Not Your Average Flying Pigs proved that they are, indeed, anything but average and placed number 18 out of 50. Even more impressive, however, was their Instant Challenge score where they earned a total of 90 out of 100 points.
So, what exactly makes Not Your Average Flying Pigs so successful? To begin with, of course, is a dedicated manager. McDermott began volunteering as an assistant coach when her daughter, Vicky, was in the third grade and, after a year as an assistant team manager, has spent the past five years managing.
McDermott enjoys Destination Imagination and truly loves working with Not Your Average Flying Pigs.
“There's a lot I like about working with the kids - especially these kids, they're great. They're very smart and creative,” she said. “They make me laugh harder than I have ever laughed before. Since they have been working on improvisational challenges for the past three years, I get to see some very, very funny attempts at improvisation... I have definitely seen them grow as a team. The things they can do this year they could not do two years ago, maybe not even a year ago. They work extremely well together. Everyone who sees them notices it.”
Of course, while leadership is crucial so is the ability to work and perform as a team. These five students spent countless hours together.
“Learning how to think quickly and read the directions carefully to understand how to best earn points," McDermott said.
Without a doubt the hard work paid off and Not Your Average Flying Pigs will have memories that will last a lifetime.
"Going to the Global Finals tournament was a great experience,” said McDermott. “We got to meet people from all over the world and live in a temporary community where everyone knows what Destination Imagination is. They really treated the kids like rock stars.”