BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — GROVELAND — Seven Pentucket eighth-graders — all from Groveland — have earned the right to travel to Knoxville, Tenn., next month to participate in the Global Finals of Destination Imagination, the largest creative thinking and problem-solving competition in the world.
Members of DI team Razz MA Dazz (Ryan’s Reindeer) — Lindsay Fabri, Regan Kelly, Sara Kershaw, Ashley Riter, Kiley Senfleben, Taylor Walsh and Sophie Webster — won the honor after coming out on top for creativity, teamwork and problem-solving in regional and state DI tournaments.
On May 22- 25 the girls will compete with other teams in the Community Service Challenge: Real to Real, one of DI’s seven open-ended challenges that require students to apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), in addition to improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork and community service. The team’s task was to identify a community need, then come up with a way to address the need and create a documentary based on their process.
The girls decided to raise money and purchase gifts for children at Mass General Hospital’s pediatric oncology department, a project near and dear to them because their friend and classmate, Ryan Reardon, passed away from neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, last year. They even named their team in honor of Ryan and his family.
“This project was so much more than winning a tournament. We felt strongly about what we were doing and only ever wanted to honor Ryan and help kids like him, going through similar struggles,” said eighth-grader Sara Kershaw.
This month the team is holding multiple fundraising events to help defray costs for the trip to Global Finals. On April 26, acoustic musician Brian Kelly performs a benefit at Coach’s Rock Pond Pub in Georgetown. Tickets to the event which runs from 8 to 10:30 p.m, can be purchased for $5 at the door.
People who attend the concert can buy raffle tickets for chances to win two Red Sox tickets, a limousine ride for four and gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants. The raffle tickets, which will also be sold during Groveland Baseball Opening Day on April 27, are three for $5. Raffle tickets may also be purchased from Sheri Riter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be drawn on April 28 and contacted by phone.
Fundraising events are also planned at the Bagnall Elementary School and through the Bagnall PTA.
More than 8,000 students representing 1,250 teams from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 13 countries will advance to Global Finals, held this year at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Team Razz MA Dazz (Ryan’s Reindeer) was one of 770 teams from Massachusetts who competed in Destination Imagination this year.
During next month’s finals, National Geographic’s world-renowned author and photographer, Joel Sartore, will be addressing the participants at the opening ceremony and exhibits by NASA, Michigan Tech’s Mindtrekkers, and other companies will be on display at the Global Finals Innovation Expo. Participants will have a chance to explore the depths of oceans and learn about environmental conservation through the 3M-sponsored, interactive “Explore the Uncharted” exhibit.
For more information on the team’s trip or to make a donation of cash, items or services, contact Briana Kershaw at email@example.com.