Is third time the charm for Coal Ridge High School team? |

Is third time the charm for Coal Ridge High School team?

Illustration courtesy of Karren Valenteen
Staff Photo |

NEW CASTLE — A team of seven juniors from Coal Ridge High School will soon be heading to Knoxville, Tenn., for their third try at winning the international Destination Imagination Tournament.

This is this group’s third consecutive shot at the tournament, emphasized team manager Karren Valenteen, a teacher with the Garfield School District Re-2 who will be going with the team to Tennessee.

“This is the third year in a row that the CRHS team has advanced to the global competition,” Valenteen wrote in a memo to the New Castle Town Council, seeking a donation to help the students come up with the $9,600 needed to pay their travel, lodging and other costs for the trip.

“We’re not sure, but we think that no other team has managed to make it to Global three years in a row,” Valenteen said on Thursday.

The New Castle council gave the group $1,000, augmenting $2,000 donated by the Garfield County commissioners and $1,000 from the Coal Ridge High School Booster Club, Valenteen said.

This year’s team is made up of James Valenteen, 16; Jorge Vazquez, 16; India Vasquez, 17; Sara Scott, 17; Garrett Senor, 17; Ruger Goodwin Bradley, 17; and Justin Burk, 17.

Valenteen said the competition calls upon teams from around the world to select a “challenge” from a list of six predetermined areas in the fall, and then take the school year to come up with a way to present a skit based on the challenge.

There is to be no dialogue, no talking at all, and the only accompaniment is to be from a soundtrack put together by the team.

The Coal Ridge Team, known by the name Lunch, picked a challenge in the area of “fine arts,” named the “In Disguise.” Valenteen explained that part of the challenge is for the team members to don disguises, masks in some cases, that can be part of the effort to evoke emotional responses from an audience.

Other challenges are identified by such terms as “sustainability,” “structural” and “project outreach.”

According to a presentation to the New Castle council by several members of the team, they will be presenting a skit revolving around a tale of twins who switch identities to make their parents happy, because one of the twins is dying and is better liked by the parents.

The idea is to evoke a range of emotions through movement, facial expressions and any means other than the spoken word.

“These kids have to do everything on their own,” emphasized Valenteen, adding that the group is leaving on May 20 and will return on May 26.

And they are hoping to come back with the championship, which would make them the best Destination Imagination team in the world.

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