The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 17, 2000


Local kids triumph on intellectual journey in regional tournament

Carlisle made its presence known at the Destination Imagination (DI) regional trials held in Bedford on Saturday, March 11. Two seasoned Carlisle teams finished first in their respective divisions and will go on to state competition in Hopkinton on Saturday, April 8.

DI, a non-profit international group, broke from the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) organization this past year as a result of a bitter legal battle. The Carlisle contingent eighth grade, fifth grade, second/third grade, and two kindergarten teams looked past the controversy and focused their energy on solving problems creatively.

"The winners represent experienced teams and coaches," said Rob Lyons, town coordinator of the Carlisle OM/DI program for the past three years. "The team members work together without arguing and depend on each other's skill. They delegate tasks knowing they can count on each other."

Scoring of teams in the competition consisted of two components, presentation of a solution to a pre-defined problem and response to improvisational challenges. All teams had about five months to prepare for the event. They met for an hour or two a week to design their presentation and practice improvisational skills. Many teams met more frequently as the competition date approached.

Many towns attended the regional event. The roster also included teams from Arlington, Bedford, Bolton, Burlington, Cambridge, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury and Wakefield.

Transporting golden eggs

The victorious eighth-grade and fifth-grade teams both attacked the "Eggs Over Easy" problem. They had to develop a system to move five eggs through an obstacle course that included five barriers.

The older team represented Carlisle's only entry in the Intermediate division. The six members have competed as a unit for two years. Last year they placed first in the region and second in the state. Two members on the team, Megan Lyons and Elizabeth Popolo, have participated in the OM/DI for six years. The team's expertise shined through in their well-designed, scientific and precise performance.

Nancy Lyons, co-team manager of the eighth-grade team with her husband Rob, believes that Carlisle does well in OM/DI because of the excellent foundation the school provides. She said, "The strength of the program complements the school's systems."

The fifth-grade team centered around a core of five team members that have competed in OM/DI for three years. Another team member joined just this year. Last, but not least, the seventh member came from the Carlisle team that placed third last year in the Elementary division. This year's spirited team of talented and diverse individuals finished first.

Coach Joan Beauchamp said, "They have learned to trust each other and communicate well. They have learned to get along and work through problems. This incredible group of creative kids has come a long way."

Setting the stage for the future

A second Carlisle team competed in the Elementary division. They addressed the "Music is the Food of Life" problem. This team had to deliver a six-minute performance without using words that included an original musical instrument, a prop that underwent a change, and display of the five senses. Many team members, made up of four third graders and two second graders, did not know each other before coming together last November. At first they hardly spoke to each other without prompting by the team managers but, with time, began conversing freely and even playing together after practices. They held hands in a show of solidarity during the parade at the final ceremonies.

"They had to research another culture," said team manager Pam Brewster of their performance set in Taiwan. "They saw how easy it is for misunderstandings to arise, but found out there are always ways to work things out."

Two teams of kindergartners from Carlisle competed in the non-competitive Primary division. They both presented a solution in the "Mixing Apples and Oranges" category. This team had to tell an original story about an unusual adoption that occurs between two different species.

Nicole Bloomfield, coaching a primary team for the second year in a row, said, "The most important thing they learned is how to shareit's not that natural at this age."

Many Carlisle parents figured among the judges, volunteers, and spectators at the event. The judges are distinguished from the other adults by wearing unusual, handmade hats. At the end of the competition, the competitors vote on the most creative hat. This year's winner? Carlisle's own Harry Nosowitz with an egghead hat made out of paper mache.

"Having fun is the real spirit of the program," concluded Lyons. "In the end, everyone's a winner."

Carlisle team members

Intermediate Division: (Grade 8) Stephanie Ivanov, Megan Lyons, Jessie Nock, Clare Nosowitz, Elizabeth Popolo, Sam Rolley

Team Managers: Rob and Nancy Lyons

Elementary Division: (Grade 5) Jason Drinkwater, Dan Fidler, Rushi Ganmukhi, Lauren Lamere, Meredith Popolo, Maia Reed, Kathleen Walsh; Team Managers: Joan Beauchamp and Marc Lamere

(Grades 2-3) Alexander Brewster, Amanda Caddell, Eric DeBruzzi, Theresa Fritz-Endres, Kyra Prats, Alexander Sayde, Elena Shieh. Team Managers: Pam Brewster and Anne Marie Brako

Primary DivisionTeam 1:Nick Belanger, Charlie Bloomfield, Alexis Chirban, Amelia Cox, Martin Koehlert, Matthew Salemy

Team Managers: Nicole Bloomfield and Deb Belanger;Team 2: Jared Acquaviva, Jack Donovan, Emily Flynn, Hannah Merry, Brendan Nunan, Talia Simon

Team Managers: Patricia Simon and Kim Donovan

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito