Justice Page students go to international Destination Imagination competition

Students took third in state competition

Top row: Avery Reilkoff, Alex Reilkoff. Middle row: Lucca Navarre, Sydney Ruckett, Ainsley Folken. Bottom row: Ruby Paulson, Nora Bartolomucci.

Ruby Paulson and Ainsley Folken sat in their living room playing the game Candy Land. Without warning, they were transported into the game, where they encountered characters such as Princess Lolly and Lady Licorice. Eventually, they won the game and returned home, with the help of their new friends.

The story was part of a skit that Ruby, Ainsley and five of their friends performed in March at the state’s Destination Imagination competition.

Ruby described the skit as “Jumanji meets Alice in Wonderland.”

The seven teammates, all Justice Page Middle School students, took third in the competition to earn a spot in the global Destination Imagination competition, set for May 22-25 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Team members said they’re excited for the opportunity. In addition to performing they’ll get to attend a ball wearing self-designed costumes made of duct tape and trade pins with competitors from other states and countries. They’ll also be paired with a “buddy” team from Turkey.

“All of our hard work paid off,” team member Lucca Navarre said.

Lucca, Ainsley and most of their teammates have been participating in Destination Imagination together since they were in third grade. They call their team the Yetis.

Each Wednesday since October, the team has been meeting to design their set and plan out their skit. Their set features a life-size Candy Land game box, with an outer wall painted like a living room and the inside painted like a game board. A light on team member Sydney Ruckett’s costume served as their technical component, as required by Destination Imagination rules.

Destination Imagination is an activity in which teams of up to seven develop solutions to challenges in one of six categories, such as fine arts, engineering or service learning. Teams also complete “instant challenges” at the competitions in which they don’t learn the tasks until the day they compete.

The fine arts category, which the Yetis chose, required teams to create a skit of up to eight minutes centered around a game of their choice. Teams needed to research their game’s history and create a portable set containing all props and including at least one technical element.

Team members said they had lots of good ideas while brainstorming their skit. They said a heart-to-heart talk from parent managers Thea Reilkoff and Monica Ruckett was key in increasing their motivation.

“We never thought we were going to make it this far,” Lucca said.

Eighth-grader Avery Reilkoff joined the Yetis this year after making the international competition with a different team last year. She called it one of her favorite experiences, noting the different activities.

The Yetis include Alex Reilkoff and Nora Bartolomucci, in addition to Avery, Sydney, Ruby, Lucca and Ainsley. They are raising funds for their trip at gofundme.com/let039s-go-to-di-globals.