CRHS' Squad-o-bots Rollout head to Globals

CRHS' Squad-o-bots Rollout head to Globals
Squad-o-bots Rollout head to Globals

The Fats Domino refrain of “ ‘going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come” is on the tips of the tongues of four Coal Ridge High School students as they prepare for the Destination Imagination Global Tournament in Kansas City, MO, May 21-25.

Coal Ridge High School’s DI team “Squad-o-bots Roll Out”,  Krista Pratt, Emma Pierce, Hannah Feeney, Brandon Smith and their coach, Elk Creek Elementary Principal Lisa Pierce, have battled through the regional competition in March, state competition in April and they become the first Garfield Re-2 team to reach the Global competition in five years.

“We always thought it would be cool to go [to Globals],” said Emma, “But we never said we really wanted to go. This year, we are really excited to go.”

Destination Imagination is a team-based competition for students Pre-K through university that provides hands-on learning experiences focusing on creativity, perseverance and productive communication. Teams of between four and 10 students work collaboratively on different challenges - some are focused on the arts, some contain community service components, others have specific engineering tasks to complete during the challenge.

“Squad-o-bots Roll Out” is competing in the medical mysteries challenge. The team had to research the human body and present a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character. They must then design and build a representation that illustrates the medical mystery and it’s symptoms, create and present two “team choice elements” to show off the teams skills, areas of strength and talents and finally, at least one scene must be presented in “double vision” or through two different perspectives at the same time.

As part of their performance, Brandon Smith portrays a poor college student suffering from symptoms that could lead to diagnosis ranging from a serious brain tumor to a simple case of dehydration.

His organs, Krista the stomach, Emma the brain and Hannah the lungs, all go through a series of reactions to lead people to the final diagnosis of dehydration. Along the way, the stomach gets hit by a ball to create nausea, the brain takes a tumble for a headache, and the lungs get beaten up to create a coughing fit.

As high school freshmen, this is the culmination of very long DI careers for the “Squad-o-bots Roll Out.”  Emma and Brandon began as Rising Stars in Kindergarten and first grade. Krista and Hannah joined the team in middle school and they have been together for five years. Since then Hannah transferred to a different school, however, the team has remained in tact. This year, they tackled the challenges differently and prepared to dominate.

“We began a lot earlier,” said Krista but not without complications.  “High school student’s schedules are much harder to coordinate. It’s been hard getting everyone together. There are so many other activities to work around.”

As a team they have put in over 80 hours - over six months - of research, writing, prop design, building, testing, finding faults, and testing again. They knew that if they wanted to compete at the highest level, they would have to put in a bit more time.

“Since we are high schoolers now, the judges expect so much more out of us than say Rising Stars,” explained Hannah. “The time commitment has to be higher because of that.”

As part of the fine tuning, the team is overhauling the costumes for the stomach and lungs., making 3-D models, adding acid to the stomach, cotton balls and straws in the lungs to make them look like the actual organs.

While the team is looking forward to the competition, DI for them, is really about the friendship and the journey.

“One of the biggest reasons I do this is because it brings us closer together,” explained Krista. “We are a family.  Developing your own skit and competing against other teams is really fun, but it’s even more fun when you are with friends.”

The Destination Imagination Global competition will bring more than 1,400 of the top-scoring DI teams from 45+ U.S. states and 14+ countries together to showcase their innovative challenge solutions. The Squad-o-bots will also get to participate in workshops and a variety of other activities while at the competition, but Emma says there is no pressure.

“I’m not really nervous,” she said. “It will be really fun. Of course we want to place, but it’s really more about the experience that we will get out of it than whether or not we win.”

The team continues to fund raise for their trip to Kansas City. Donations can be made to the Garfield Re-2 School District, C/O Squad-o-bots Roll Out, 839 Whiteriver Ave., Rifle, CO 81650.