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Harrison's Parsons Elementary Students Place Fifth In Creative Competition

Parsons Elementary students who competed in the Destination Imagination competition.
Parsons Elementary students who competed in the Destination Imagination competition. Photo Credit: Contributed

HARRISON, N.Y. -- A group of Parsons Elementary third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students competed for the first time in Destination Imagination, a global competition that includes numerous aspects of interdisciplinary study under the umbrella of creativity.

The team, which competed at the regional competition against schools from Long Island, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, took home a fifth place trophy in Parsons’ and the district’s first venture. The students involved were Mai Blaustein; Matilde Mitgaard; Hailey Helmer; Benedetto Galluzzo; Tokitaka Suzaki; Haleigh DePalo; and Charles Zenhausern. “The students were given a 'challenge' and created a play to solve it,” said Parsons fifth-grade teacher and club adviser Catherine Egan.

“Students were asked to create a skit in which a character has a phobia but finds a solution to deal or cope with it. The story must be structured in the style of a fairy tale and must include an illusion based on the age-appropriate principles of physics or mechanical engineering, which required a lot of research on the students’ end.” The Parsons team’s challenge was entitled “Feary Tales” and featured a main character who had a fear of roses.

To overcome this fear, the main character and his helpers invented a time machine to connect with a wizard. The wizard magically created a net of roses and captured the main character to cure him of his fears. “The students were scored on their artwork, dance, music, and in general, their creativity. For under $150, the students constructed all their own sets and costumes,” said Egan. “A big part of their score came from teamwork.”

The team met twice a week for six weeks and then everyday after school the week before the event to brainstorm ideas, research the phobia, write scripts and songs, and rehearse. Although Parsons did not advance to the state finals this year, Egan is optimistic that the team will learn from the experience and incorporate this insight into next year’s competition.

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