Published in the May 11, 2016 edition

THE Lynnfield Destination Imagination University Level team headed to Global Finals features, from left, Kayla Snover, Laura Bassi, Angelina Benitez, Stephanie LaSpina, Lane Snover and Abby Stewert. (Courtesy Photo)

THE Lynnfield Destination Imagination University Level team headed to Global Finals features, from left, Kayla Snover, Laura Bassi, Angelina Benitez, Stephanie LaSpina, Lane Snover and Abby Stewert. (Courtesy Photo)


LYNNFIELD — The town’s Destination Imagination program has been regarded as one of the state’s premier programs and this year is no exception.

Three Destination Imagination teams will be making the trek to Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn. from May 24-28. The teams are a middle school team, high school team and for the first time in Lynnfield history, a university level team.

Destination Imagination (DI) is a volunteer-led, educational non-profit organization that teaches children, adolescents and young adults 21st Century skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles. DI encourages students to solve problems by having students undertake creative and collaborative challenges.

Middle school

The middle school team headed to Global Finals is the DIY’ers (Do-It-Yourself-ers), which consists of middle school students Molly McCarthy, Michael Dreher, Elizabeth Daly, Yvonne Chen, Alex Lin, Isabel Geary and Michael Maddison. Coaches Tracy Geary, Lisa Daly and Mark Maddison lead the DIY’ers.

The DIY’ers are a brand new DI team this year, which made the fact the team qualified for Global Finals even more impressive. The team finished first in the regional competition and tied for second at states.

“This is a brand new team, together for the first year,” said Tracy Geary. “It’s such a huge honor to be representing our town and state at the Global Finals.”

Geary said the DIY’ers decided to undertake the Service Learning Challenge this year.

“They were presented with the challenge of finding a community problem and figuring out a solution through project planning and community partnerships,” said Geary. “They decided on addressing the problem of loneliness with the elderly. They partnered with Sunrise Senior Living and visited with the residents often. They played games, did crafts, sang songs, etc. The kids and residents loved it so much and want these relationships to continue.”

As part of the challenge, the DIY’ers created an Internet meme that was distributed on social media. Geary also said the team created a brochure “encouraging high school students to use their community service hours at Sunrise or any nursing home.”

“They distributed their brochures at surrounding towns and Sunrise has already seen an increase in volunteers,” Geary added.

After the DIY’ers’ trek to Global Finals takes place, Geary said the team will be staying in contact with their new friends at Sunrise.

“The kids are committed to staying in contact with Sunrise and building upon the friendships they’ve made there,” said Geary.

High school

Punbelievable is the high school Destination Imagination team headed to Global Finals. The team consists of Lynnfield High School sophomores Dominick Gravante, Alberto Beinitez, Anthony Wilkinson, Makayla Maffeo and Molly Pifko. Angelina Benitez, who is a member of the DI university team, coaches Punbelievable.

Similar to the DIY’ers, Punbelievable is a first-year DI team. The team punched its ticket to Global Finals after finishing first in both the regional and state DI competitions.

“It is such an exciting time for this team,” said Angelina Benitez. “They have worked so hard all year and are thrilled to be representing Lynnfield in Global Finals.”

Benitez said Punbelievable decided to undertake the In Plain Sight challenge this year. She said the team had to research how organisms use camouflage in nature and the team had to showcase camouflage research in “the visible appearance of an organism.” She also said Punbelievable had to create and present a story that had a plot twist caused by the use of camouflage.

According to Benitez, Punbelievable applied camouflage methods to “an original team-designed and created set piece or prop.” She also said the team had to “create and present two team choice elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength and talents.

Benitez said Punbelievable’s story involved owls and birds. The story consisted of a robin named Robin Banks, who “hatched a plan to rob all the banks in the area.” With the assistance of a “not-so-bright” blue jay assistant named Jay Blue, Robin Banks built a “Bank Robber 3000 machine, which counts puns and, when it reaches 51 puns, it will automatically rob all the banks in the area.”

“The police, Miss Taken, a mistle thrush, and Detective Snow, a snow owl, are tasked with trying to catch Robin Banks,” Benitez continued. “A news reporter named Little Birdy, an Eastern Screech Owl, tries to interview the police and it turns out that she is working undercover for Robin Banks and has camouflaged herself to gain secret information about the police’s investigation. The story concludes when Detective Snow captures Jay Blue and foils Robin Banks’ plan.”

Benitez said Punbelievable enjoyed undertaking the In Plain Sight challenge.

“They worked so hard on every element of their challenge and paid great attention to detail of their costumes and scenery and story,” said Benitez. “They really embodied the spirit of DI and have both learned a lot and had great fun along the way.”

In addition to finishing first at regionals and states, Punbelievable also won a Renaissance Award at regionals. The Renaissance Award recognizes a team’s outstanding design, engineering, execution and performance.

“We were impressed with this team’s craftsmanship from the moment we saw their set and costumes,” said DI Co-Regional Manager Janet Frederickson, who is also co-manager of the university level team. “As soon as we began talking to them and saw behind the scenes, we were blown away. From the remote controlled light up pun counter to the intricate bird costumes made from paint chips and frayed fabric, this team had an eagle eye for details. The construction of every object was thematic and cohesive. And on top of it, all their story was a hoot.”

University team

The university level DI team headed to Global Finals features Kayla Snover, Lane Snover, Laura Bassi, Angelina Benitiez, Stephanie LaSpina and Abby Stewart. Donna Snover and Frederickson coach the team.

“We are very excited to have a university level team representing Lynnfield and Massachusetts at Global Finals,” said Donna Snover. “All the students are alumni of the Lynnfield school system and are currently attending different universities. Having the students in different states has proven challenging. When it comes to solving the challenge, as they could not meet weekly as in years past but in typical DI fashion they were able to come up with a creative solution. They used technology, such as Skype, group messaging and various meeting formats to regularly communicate with each other.”

Snover said the university level team is undertaking the Fine Arts Challenge titled Get a Clue at Global Finals.

“The team in this challenge had to present a mystery story set on Earth in a team-chosen time period before 1990,” said Snover. “The mystery had to include three suspects but the suspect responsible for the mystery was not identified until the live stage performance. They created a TechniClue that helped solved the mystery. This was a clue that had one or more technical component involved. The entire story was presented in the style of transverse staging.”

Snover said the university level team did not compete in states and regionals since the team members were away at college.

“Typically, (university level teams) do the bulk of the work required for the challenge while at Globals or in the weeks prior to leaving for Globals,” Snover. “Therefore, the solution is still a work in progress.”

Snover said the university level team previously competed together in high school.

“This team has been together for many years, placing first at Globals when they were seniors at Lynnfield High School, and are excited about pulling together their solution for this year in just a few short weeks,” said Snover. “Now that is taking time management to a whole new level!”

Snover said the team decided to continue participating in DI after graduating from high school because they love the program so much.

“They continue to give back to a program that has given so much to them,” said Snover. “Three of the team members have also acted as coaches to younger teams in Lynnfield the last two years.”


In order to help defray the cost of the trip to Global Finals, the three DI teams are once again holding a series of fundraisers to help finance the trip.