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Thinking Out of the Box

Whose Line is it Anyway’s Ryan Styles and Wayne Brady may be facing some stiff competition in the near future. South Lake students are already jumping on the improv band wagon and these kids are not afraid to show their knack for ad lib.

Watch out Bill Nye the Science Guy and Sherlock Holmes, “Mystery Loves Company” educated a group of Sierra House Elementary School students on the scope of scientific investigation.

Mini physicists? Who’d have thought? But it’s true. They do exist – They’re alive and well attending South Tahoe Middle School.



Destination Imagination/Odyssey of the Mind can be credited for bringing out the brilliance in some of Tahoe’s youth.

Teams from South Tahoe High School, South Tahoe Middle School, Sierra House and Meyers Elementary schools earned first place rankings March 3 at the Destination Imagination regional competition in Grass Valley, Calif.



Those teams are taking their creativity to University of California, Davis March 31 for the Destination Imagination/Odyssey of the Mind state competition.

In conjunction with Odyssey of the Mind, Destination Imagination is a world-wide organization that fosters creative problem solving at elementary, junior high and high school levels. This mental olympics emphasizes team work and innovative thinking.

n Sierra House Elementary School students Nicholas Tourney, Taylor Jaime, Sam Pierini, Shawn Malloy, Kyle Garrett, Ryan Jaurequi and Christian Dayberry won at regionals for “Mystery Loves Company,” an investigative challenge.

“They had to create a mystery filled with suspense, flush out facts, cover evidence, perform their own scientific investigation and construct a communication device,” said Sierra House teacher Jodi Dayberry, who is coaching the kids along with her husband John.

n Middle schoolers Ali Martinez, Ashley Rumble, Kelsey McClurg, Caitlin Churchill, Nathan Garofalos, Kyle Davis and Bubba Romagnolo took home the Da Vinci award for “outstanding creativity” at the regional competition, in addition to a first place trophy for their skit in the DInamic Improv challenge.

“Our problem is the DInamic Improv,” Garofalos said. “We have to research 12 specific famous people, 12 famous places and 12 cultural performers. Then (the judges) pick one of each of those things and we have to incorporate it into a skit.”

But wait, there’s more.

“We get a setting and then we get an innovator action and a surprising turn of events,” Romagnolo said. “We also have to do an instant challenge. It’s a spontaneous problem.”

Martinez has participated in Odyssey of the Mind and related challenges for five years.

“Every year it’s a little different because there is always a different problem,” she said. “I like this problem because you don’t know what you’re going to get and you have to be creative on the spot, right there.”

n Meyers Elementary School’s DInamic Improv team also won first place in their age group. Team members include Blaire Segal, Alicia Mason, Miranda De Fressine, Kelly Bartlett and Kayla Hudson

n South Tahoe Middle School sixth-graders Shane Butler, Nathan Machida, Devin Middlebrook and Daniel Swain took first place in regionals for the Tech Effects challenge.

Requirements for Tech Effects include making something levitate, disappear and reappear. Special effects and a physical change also must also take place.

Destination Imagination is not just challenging, it’s a great experience, Middlebrook said.

Ashley Rumble, of STMS’s improv group, shared similar sentiments.

“The way I consider Destination Imagination is it’s like thinking out of the box,” she said.


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