This year, General Gordon Elementary's own "Tomato Heads" took first prize in the City Destination ImagiNation Championship. The team was composed of Grade 5 and 6 students including Sydney Young, Zaid Stuart-Khafaji, Saige MacKenzie, Mia Chapman, Savannah Sears, Micah Pavlidis and Roman Johnson. The Tomato Heads were awarded the number one spot ahead of 100 other teams from as far away as Whistler.
The team won for their four minute "movie trailer" play about different cultures who disliked each other because of the different foods they ate. In the end it was the candy-loving "peacemakers" who saved the day.
Grade 5 student Roman Johnson admits he was a little nervous when he took the stage during the competition. But he says that nervousness quickly evaporated.
"It felt really good once we got into the play," he says. "We just got into the fun of it. People laughed when we thought they'd laugh."
The students mounted the entire production on their own (with only minimal support from their parental team mates). They created the set for their short play, wrote the script, provided the sound effects and performed the play's music.
General Gordon principal Margaret Davidson says the all-encompassing nature of Destination ImagiNation is part of what she like about the program.
"What I love about the program is the students work together and come up with the ideas themselves and it takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people and perform," she says.
The hard work and hours of preparation paid off. In addition to winning the city championship, the Tomato Heads also won the Renaissance Award for the extraordinary amounts of effort and preparation of their project as well as the outstanding skill in engineering, design or performance.
"Every Thursday we met, usually at Mia's house, with our leaders," explains Tomato Head team member Sydney Young. "We'd work on instant challenges and work on central challenges. It's a big play."
Their victory at St. Johns School (where the competition took place) puts the team in the running to compete in the upcoming provincial match up. If the team does well there, they could be headed to Tennessee, USA where the global competition will take place.
Destination ImagiNation began in the summer of 1999, when nearly 200 international volunteers united to create a global creative problem solving program that would provide students with an exciting, joyful and supportive experience. Less than a year later, more than 100,000 students had participated in the program.