Contest ignites young imaginations

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By Vicky Gits

Seven Westridge Elementary students who built a drivable vehicle out of scrap lumber, bicycle sprockets, 16 AA batteries, wheels and an electric hand drill are raising money to compete at the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals from May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Team NO Limits! won third place April 14 out of 14 teams at the state Destination ImagiNation Tournament at the Auraria campus in Denver, entitling the group to compete at the finals, along with 55 out of a total of 1,000 Colorado teams.

Another Westridge team, called TNT, made up of six mostly third-graders, made it to the state contest in a different challenge, called "Hold It!", placing 11th. They built a wooden structure that weighed only 21 grams and held 240 pounds and 18 golf balls. The team managers were Kim and Derek Anderson.

Previously, the NO Limits! team had won first place March 10 at the Jeffco Regional DI Tournament at Alameda High School and captured the DaVinci Award, which is given for a unique approach to a solution, risk-taking and outstanding creativity.

"The kids have to do the work. As team managers, we can't touch the tools or hold anything. We can teach them how to use the power tools and be safe, but they build the cart, and we can't help them," said Kim Isenhart, team manager and mother of team member Jack Isenhart.

Also on the team are Kate and Lexi Lubotsky, Davis and Tate Morrison, Tyler Shepard and Elizabeth Dougherty, all students at Westridge Elementary.

The team is holding a fund-raiser May 21 at the Dairy Queen, 5005 S. Kipling, No. A-11, from 5 to 8 p.m. The goal is to raise $11,000 to cover the trip to Knoxville.

The contest virtually takes over the campus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, which hosts some 7,000 kids and 1,000 teams, plus parents and volunteers.

Destination ImagiNation supplied the challenge, which consisted of building a vehicle that "retrieves parts and delivers products" and is sturdy enough to transport at least one team member.

Participants had to assemble "products" from parts to fill orders and create a story about something that happens "just in time." Team NO Limits! produced 40 units of two products, seven gold bells in a Tupperware container (20 units) and five red bells and one green bell in a container (20 units).

The final performance had to take eight minutes or less, and materials could not cost more than $175.

Destination ImagiNation is a nonprofit organization that reaches some 125,000 students in the U.S. and abroad. It was founded in 1999 with the goal of revitalizing the educational experience.

Team manager Kim Isenhart, a nurse, and her husband, Brian Isenhart, offered their Grant Ranch basement and garage for the months-long process.

"I just believe in this," Kim Isenhart said. "I think they learned about teamwork. They learned everybody has their own idea, how to accept what is the best idea for the whole team, learning how to speak up for themselves when they have an idea and building confidence."

Last year her son, Jack, was on the team from Powderhorn Elementary, and three years ago son Ben participated while in kindergarten.

Contributions can be sent to Dwight Rudolph, Colorado Extreme Creativity Treasurer, 7567 S. Depew St., Littleton, CO 80128 (put “Westridge Elementary” in the check’s memo section).


Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22


Jeffco Teams going to DI Global Finals


• West Jefferson Middle, Dountain Dewers

• Green Mountain High School, Brotherhood of Hooded Brothers

• Vanderhoof Elemenatry, Black Eyed Bees

• Vanderhoof Elementary, Video Game Geeks

• Vanderhoof Elementary, Great Gigawatt Gumball Escape

• Southwest Academy, InDIana and the IC of Doom

• Green Mountain High School, Wonder Penguinz

• Green Mountain High School, Orange Flying Watermelons

• Westridge Elementary, NO Limits!