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The TAG competitive team, made up of students from Colton Middle School and Colton Elementary School, qualified for the Destination Imagination Global Competition in May

PIONEER PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - Students on the TAG team include from left to right: Cierra Ridenour, Jacob Bell, Laramie Oedell and Anna Woodward.The Talented and Gifted (TAG) team of Colton Middle and Elementary students have earned a berth to the Destination Imagination Global competition in May.

The competitive TAG team, Cierra Ridenour (eighth grade), Anna Woodward (eighth grade), Laramie Oedell (sixth grade) and Jacob Bell (fifth grade), presented their scientific solution project at the Metro Regional tournament in early March and then again at the Oregon State Affiliate (which included Idaho) tournament in Salem. At the state competition, the team took second place in the Main Challenge but earned first in the Instant Challenge.

The Destination Imagination website says: "Instant Challenges require teams to engage in quick, creative and critical thinking. At a tournament, a team will receive an Instant Challenge and the materials with which to solve it. The team members must think on their feet by applying appropriate skills to produce a solution in a period of just five to eight minutes."

The Colton students' composite score qualified them for the Global Tournament.

"The Destination Imagination (DI) Challenge Experience is one hundred percent kid-driven," Jina Denney, Colton Middle School language arts teacher and TAG adviser, said in an email. "Over the course of this school year, the students have worked together as a team to generate ideas, research different topics and techniques, and plan and build a solution to this year's DI Team Challenge called Unlikely Attraction."

"Unlikely Attraction" is the scientific challenge in this year's Destination Imagination worldwide competition. It challenges teams to explore scientific concepts used in amusement parks and then use the ideas developed through their research to design and build their own attraction. The cost of the project cannot exceed $150 and does not allow electronic usage.  They are also required through a presentation to place the 'attraction' in an imaginary place where it is utilitarian in a completely 'unlikely' setting. The Colton team opted to build a vending machine. In the imagination/presentation part of the challenge, they place the vending machine in the netherworld where, with a push of the lever, it dispenses crystals (grown by the team) that send people back home.

When asked what scientific and design principals they used, they were quick to answer, saying they mostly used principles of physics including mechanical leverage, magnetic force, linear momentum and technical innovation. They added they also utilized cardboard, magnets, rubber bands, dowels, lots and lots of hot glue and duct tape.

"Now the challenge is to raise the money to attend." -Jina Denney

The TAG team will be representing Colton from May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the University of Tennessee where the top-tier DI teams from around the world have the opportunity to showcase their projects on the international stage.

"Now the challenge is to raise the money to attend," Denney said. "It will be $6,800 for seven attendees (three adults plus four team members) and then we need to add in airfare costs estimated to be $700- $1000 round-trip per person."

The team is fundraising like crazy. Colton Boosters is going to give the $1,500 needed for the entrance fee and have offered the kids, if they work concession stand at track meets, a portion of the proceeds. Chelsea Skogan-Boyd is offering the hot dog cart for a fundraiser and Greg Adams, of PIPS at 1585 West Main Street in Molalla, has offered 20 percent of all sales made on Friday, April 27 between 5-8 p.m.

The team has presented to other foundations and companies with hopes of making their way to Tennessee, where they will represent one of the smallest public schools in the competition.

"This is so cool for our community," Middle School Principal Grant Hayball said. "It is an honor to be represented by these brilliant minds."

There are only two weeks for the amount to be raised. All funds will go through Colton Boosters. If you want to help you can send checks to Boosters at 30205 South Wall Street, Colton, OR 97017 (be sure to note TAG team in the memo) or go to their GoFundMe. There will be other fundraisers and drives coming up very soon.

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