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Destination Imagination team competes for state recognition, earns national invitation

A team comprised of Home School Enrichment Academy (HSEA) students at Lewis-Palmer School District 38 earned high marks after a series of Destination Imagination competitions this spring, culminating in an invitation to continue participation in the tournament on the national stage.

D38 and HSEA participated in Destination Imagination for the first time in the 2021-2022 school year, led by HSEA Middle School Teacher Marie Heaton. According to the Destination Imagination website, it is an organization that allows students to organize teams focused on innovation, combining the arts, sciences, and technology with creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. Students work together as they solve challenges and grow together.

Heaton said she’s been a fan of the Destination Imagination program for some time, and her students embraced tackling a challenge, and they became a team in the process.

“I’ve never had a team that has advanced beyond regionals, so this year has been amazing,” Heaton, who had coached Destination Imagination teams for many years prior to joining D38, said. “The HSEA team produced an amazing response to the challenge they hcose in about two months time.”

Heaton said the students impressed judges, called appraisers, leading to recognition for their achievements despite a lack of previous Destination Imagination experience as competitors.

The challenge solved by the HSEA team, titled Tricky Tales, allowed the team to advance past regionals. Heaton said the team made some tweaks in preparation for the state competition and ultimately, the team placed fifth in their category. Although they were invited to participate in the global finals, students elected to not participate as they could not all make it due to scheduling conflicts.

“I am a huge fan of what programs like Destination Imagination open up for students,” Heaton said. “The benefits are tremendous, and students grow in ways they never imagined.”

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