Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 15, 2013

Destination Imagination

Wind energy project earns seventh-graders trip to Knoxville.

(Continued)

They use an old hair dryer to turn the blades and get the vortex to move. Even figuring that out was difficult, though.

The kids tried pointing the hair dryer in different directions and at different angles to keep the fan blades moving.

“It took us a while to get the right angle to get the fan to move,” said Levi Hanny, who plays Tyrone the scientist.

But creating the wooden backdrop and storyline were even harder.

They created one whole script only to realize days before regionals they weren’t following the rules for the invisible character. They scrapped it and started over.

Two days before the regional competition, the kids had nothing. They were frustrated and ready to give up, team manager Debbie Everling said.

“It just wasn’t coming together for them at all,” she said.

Everling wanted to help them, but she couldn’t. Rules of the competition forbid adults from providing suggestions or advice to the team members.

She encouraged the kids to go home and get some rest and try again the next day. So they met the night before regionals and started working.

They wrote a new script. They built an entire wooden backdrop using table saws, jigsaws, hinges and other supplies.

“Using the power tools was interesting,” said Kaitlyn Alexander, who plays Foofoo the cow. “It took four of us to get hinges on.”

But they finished it. They went on to win regionals. Then they won state, too, earning a spot in the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn.

As they waited for results at the state competition, they sat on a gym floor holding hands. Some of them cried. When they found out they won, the children said they didn’t know what to think. They were so excited, they said.

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