By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — The parking lot, hallways and classrooms of Churubusco Jr./Sr. High School were filled to the brim Saturday as the school was host to 70 Destination Imagination teams for the northern region contest.
Two Churubusco teams were among the 70 that competed — “Treedom,” the junior high team, and “Busco Blues,” the elementary school team. The team of Churubusco High School students in Destination Imagination will automatically advance to the Global competition in Tennessee.
Treedom placed third in its category and will advance to the state finals.
Two other schools in the four-county area also had teams that competed: Central Noble and Hamilton.
The regional contest has been hosted at Churubusco Jr./Sr. High School for two years in a row, headed by Churubusco DI coaches Julie Mast and Nikki King.
“I love this site,” said Denise Benczik, co-affiliate director. “These ladies do a great job, from setting up the rooms to feeding everyone well.”
The northern region includes all counties from Marion County (Indianapolis) to the northern state line.
“Churubusco is not completely centrally-located in the region, but there’s a lot of children in the Fort Wayne and South Bend areas who participate,” Benczik said. “Everyone is very welcoming here, and many of the kids are coming from bigger cities, this has a nice, small-town feel.”
Mast and King worked nearly around the clock last week to prepare the school. Many of the classrooms were used as prep areas for teams, and other places, such as the gymnasium and library, were used for challenges and performances.
Churubusco’s teams began practicing their acts months ago. Destination Imagination coordinators provide a set of guidelines that the children must include in their eight-minute performance.
As long as the requirements in the guidelines are met, the possibilities are endless.
All the work, from the plot, to the lines, outfits, make-up and props, must be decided upon and completed by the students.
“The kids do everything, said Luke Brown, Busco Blues member. “The coaches can’t give us any ideas, we have to come up with it all on our own.”
Mast said coming up with an idea for the challenge can be a challenge in itself.
“They’re all leaders. Sometimes they have trouble accepting others’ leadership,” Mast said. “The problem solving and teamwork skills they learn here will help them through their whole lives.”
The Busco Blues did not advance to the finals, but coordinators say winning isn’t the primary focus of DI, rather the life lessons learned.
The long day began at 7:30 a.m. and concluded with awards at 4 p.m.
Throughout the day, visitors were seen at local shops and restaurants, taking a break from the crowded school, which at times was wall-to-wall with people.
Coordinators said they hope to continue to host the event at Churubusco Jr./Sr. High School.
The state contest will be held April 22 at Fishers High School.