Students realize ImagiNation is a destination

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, April 29, 2010

At Oak Mountain High School, four students meet once a week to solve a puzzle that, at first, seems impossible: how to use only newspaper and glue to create a structure strong enough to hold the weight of a person.

Using their brainpower, however, these students have figured it out. Those problem-solving skills are taking them to global competition in Destination ImagiNation, an after-school activity in which students work in teams to solve challenges and present their solutions at tournaments.

Junior Diamond Brown, sophomore Mitchell Goss, freshmen Amelia O’Hare and Kelly Cloud and school sponsor Anna Weaver make up the Destination ImagiNation team for Oak Mountain.

“From this experience, it makes (students) open to other people’s ideas and helps them to think outside the box,” Weaver said. “It serves them well.”

Their structure, which is 8 inches tall, holds an amazing 116 pounds — good enough to win first place in Oak Mountain’s division at state competition.

Global competition, which is May 26-29 in Nashville, will be a huge challenge, with thousands of competitors from all over the world.

While the newspaper structure is a large part of the competition, the Oak Mountain team will also have to deal with other challenges. They also must perform a skit pertaining to a news story from another country; in another part of the competition, they will be given problems they’ve never seen before to solve — sometimes within a matter of minutes.

The students said the program has provided them with learning opportunities they didn’t expect.

“(I’ve learned) better teamwork for sure, I’ve met new people,” Goss said. “There’s more than one solution to a problem.”

O’Hare said she’s learned to better solve puzzles and expects that ability to help her later in life.

“I guess it depends on what kind of job I have down the road. It’ll help me work out problems in my job,” she said.

Approximately 72,000 children participate in Destination ImagiNation each year. More than 6,000 schools are involved with the program. For more information on Destination ImagiNation, visit