Teams from both Londonderry High School and the Southern New Hampshire Montessori Academy in Londonderry have advanced to the next round of competition in the Destination Imagination competition.
The two Londonderry teams placed fourth and fifth respectively in their divisions (high school and elementary school, respectively) in the Pitch and Play portion of the competition, which took place in Concord on Saturday.
“Pitch and Play is where the kids come up with an idea of a game to raise money for a charity, pitch it, set it up and do it all by themselves,” said Mike Russell, board member of New Hampshire’s Incredible Creativity Connection, New Hampshire Destination Imagination (NH-DI).
The Montessori students had the idea to stop littering and promote recycling in their school “community” and pitched the idea to staff. They built cardboard “hoops” to fit over recycling bins in the classrooms and call their idea “Trashketball Hoops.”
According to art and Early Childhood teacher Laura Zorawowicz, she and fellow team leader Tate Greco advise team members Jack Cotte, 6, William Hogan, 11, Jeremy Swann-Thayer, 6, Rheya King, 10, Kai Greco, 8, and William Gorveatt, 7, on their project.
Eric Melanson, advisor to the high school team, said that in order to make it a fair competition, the team competes in the category of the oldest team member. Members are: Evan Plevinsky, 15, Trevor Melanson, 14, Abi Whitcomb, 13, Megan Maher, 13, Kayla Patterson, 13 and Eddie Whitcomb, 12. Evan Plevinsky is the only high school student and all the others are in middle school, but because Plevinsky is in high school, it is considered a high school team.
The Londonderry High team’s idea is to host “Aiming for a Cure,” an Airsoft war at the Musquash Conservation Area, an idea the commission has not approved at this time. The group wants to use the Musquash on April 12 and invite people to participate in the Airsoft war. They hope to raise funds by charging $5 to play and renting eye protection and guns to the participants. The commission suggested they use the Town Forest instead.
The money raised would be donated to cancer care.
According to Russell, the non-profit DI organization’s purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. He said the organization is entering its 33rd year.
“Students in our programs learn critical thinking, creativity, cooperation, teamwork, communication skills – and confidence,” he said. “Many of our adult volunteers learn how to take the same lessons and implement them in the workplace to leverage team innovation.
“What makes DI unique is that all solutions, including all ideas and construction, must be done solely by the team members, and not adults or friends,” he added. “The teams have been working since the fall to craft their solutions.”
Russell said the state finals will be held March 29 at Nashua South High School. Winners of the state competition go on to compete in Globals in May.