By Linda White
After recently spending time with the Skittleworms, the Destination Imagination (DI) team which placed third at the Global competition in Knoxville, TN, it was difficult to use only one word to describe them. Talented, animated, creative, high energy and smart are a few of the descriptors that readily came to mind after meeting the six members of the Skittleworms team. However, you should also know how funny, generous, respectful, considerate, and mature they are for their age.
Team members Ada Cooprider, Toby Favalora, Rachael Hsu, Evan Kelly, Hayden McAllister, and Jane Stewart have been together as a DI team since third grade. They aptly describe themselves as a group who know how to work together “really well.” Using a democratic process of governance, they routinely make numerous decisions as a team evaluating each member’s suggestions and input. Their negotiating skills are strong, and they are intensely respectful and careful of the feelings of each team member. Sticker voting takes place with each member having five sticky note votes. They are quick to support the outcome of the vote and move on. Their group process and drive fueled their successful progression through regional and state level competitions to a global stage against teams from across the world and afforded an opportunity to make friends with students from Turkey, Guatemala, and Germany.
Each member brings unique skills and interests to the team. The students were generous and spontaneous in pointing out the strengths of each member and consider themselves a family unit. “Jane is the builder and takes care of sets and costumes. Evan takes care of tech issues and organization. Rachael is the decorator and helps all around. Ada is artistic and always adds to the story line and script. Hayden is definitely our go-to music guy. Toby is an outliner, an idea guy who gets things started.”It would be difficult to find an adult corporate board that works more effectively and cooperatively than this group of fifth-grade students.
Team members worked seven months to solve this year’s DI Challenge. As previously reported by The Citizen, the Skittleworms used a GoFundMe page to help defray the costs of registration, transportation, and transport of their set and materials. “Our challenge this year  was to create a performance about how a color disappearing changes the world. We had to include research about the color that disappeared, a colorful character who was affected by and/or caused the color’s disappearance. We also had to include a vanishing act, in which something disappeared using technical theater methods. We studied and researched color science, animation, projection, and made a homemade pipe instrument and composed an original song. We built all our sets ourselves and made all our costumes ourselves. This was our performance at the regional competition.”
Skittleworms’ responses were upbeat and reflective when asked what they learned about themselves from their DI experience. Ada: “If you don’t succeed, keep DI’ing it. Strangeness can lead to success.” Jane: “Sometimes you have to try nine ideas because you don’t want to miss something.” Toby: “Trust yourself. Go with your gut.” Hayden: “Just about anything can work if you try.” Evan: “Weird can work most of the time. All of us are a bit weird.” Rachael: “You have to control your feelings. Everything will work out.”
Summarizing the highlights of their experience at the global competition, the team exclaimed, “Amazing, high energy, challenging, fun, great pin trading, super BBQ ribs, incredible inside jokes, motivating.” The team would like to thank their parents, families, and their many Bedford supporters who helped to make their participation and trip to Knoxville possible.
Regarding their team name, The Skittleworms, the students explained they wanted a team name that was creative, unusual, funny, and not an iconic choice. Using a made up word and combining two different things sounded like a good idea to them, especially because they all like food (candy in particular) and they all consider themselves to be a little on the crazy side. Skittles candies were an easy choice because they are colorful, active, can literally roll anywhere, and are fun to eat. Waffle worms are a fun variation on the traditional breakfast griddle favorite.
Congratulations to this talented group of young people who represented Bedford in such style.
Destination Imagination recruitment begins in the fall.Interested families of Grade 2 students and above are encouraged to complete a brief survey and will be contacted when new teams are forming. https://bit.ly/2u4iMdN.
Read more about the Skittleworms in The Bedford Citizen
- Destination Imagination Global Finals Begin on Wednesday, and Bedford’s Skittleworms are Knoxville-Bound
- Season Wrap-up: Destination Imagination