BERLIN — In its last performance, the Berlin High Destination Imagination team had its best finish ever. G-Dog Sandwich and the 6 Apostle team tied for seventh in the global finals in Kansas City, Mo., last month.
The team competed against 65 other teams from across the United States and over 15 countries in the Scientific Challenge “Medical Mystery.” The challenge required teams to create and present a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character. The Berlin team based its skit on the painter Vincent van Gogh’s battle with mental illness.
“These guys absolutely nailed the team challenge,” said long-time advisor Guy Stever.
“It was the best we had ever done our skit,” said team member Alexis Griffin.
Part of the competition also included an Instant Challenge, which counts for 25 percent of the overall score. The team is given a challenge and has only five to eight minutes to solve it. The team described it as tough and said they were unsure afterward if they would meet their goal of besting last year’s finish in 21st position.
“I don’t think we wanted to do worse than last year,” said team member Joshua Berthiaume.
“I had no idea where we were going to place,” said Stever.
Needless to say, the team was surprised and happy when the scoreboard showed it had tied for seventh.
“We were decidedly happy,” said Alexis Griffin.
“If you break into the top 20, you’ve really accomplished something,” said Stever.
Team advisor David Griffin said the experience of global finals is about much more than the competition. He said the students meet and talk to other students from different backgrounds. To encourage competitors to socialize, Destination Imagination promotes the trading of pins. Each state designs a special pin for the finals and some teams also create their own pins. The team members swap pins with other competitors.
Alexis Griffin said she is still in contact with some of the people she met at earlier globals, including students from Texas, Ohio and Virginia. Berthiaume said on the first morning in Kansas City the team met a member from a Virginia team. He said she showed up with her entire team to watch their performance and then they reciprocated by going to her team’s performance.
“She was so happy to see us, she gave us a big hug,” he said.
While Berthiaume, Griffin, Aiden Wood, Kelsey Alimandi, and Julia Belanger were competing in their fourth global final, it was Thomas Cole’s first trip to the finals.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” he said. “It was definitely overwhelming the first few days.”
David Griffin said competing at the global level takes a lot of work and the Berlin team started preparing for this year’s competition last October. The once-a-week meetings increased as the regional and state competitions neared. After years of competing together, the team is very close-knit and works well together.
“The great thing about this group is they don’t let each other down,” Griffin said.
The team is also appreciative of the local support that enabled them to go to the global finals. The team raised $16,000 to cover the cost of participating in the finals.
All six members of the team are seniors and are heading off to college in the fall. Also retiring is advisor Guy Stever. But Griffin said he remains committed and will look to put together another team for next year’s Destination Imagination.