Northwood Elementary School Principal Melissa Hackett is gearing up for another year of competition.

Northwood Elementary School Principal Melissa Hackett is gearing up for another year of competition.

Hackett is the Destination Imagination coordinator for the Marysville Exempted Village School District. She held an organizational meeting Wednesday, Oct. 3.

"The coolest thing is watching the kids find their niche. Destination Imagination gives them confidence," said Hackett.

Destination Imagination Inc. is a nonprofit organization that helps students around the world discover their creativity and learn how to work together. It was incorporated in 1999. About 125,000 kids participate every year with 38,000 volunteers. "Basically it's creative problem solving," said Hackett.

Ohio has 11 regions with the Central Ohio region being the largest.

"Last year, in our region alone, there were 20 school districts represented," said Hackett.

Last year, Marysville took 10 teams ranging from third grade to 12th grade to the regional competition. One team came from the high school. Two Bunsold Middle School teams, three Creekview Intermediate School teams, three Northwood Elementary teams and one Raymond Elementary School team also competed.

One of the Northwood Elementary teams won first place and earned a Davinci award for creativity. Last year two teams made it to the state tournament held in Mount Vernon. State winners then advance to Globals.

"We have a high school team that it's their third time going to Globals," said Hackett.

The Global tournament is held in Knoxville, Tenn.

"The kids get to meet other kids from all over the world," said Hackett.

Destination Imagination teams compete in two categories at tournaments. One category allows the students to prepare by choosing a scenario and working together to solve problems. For example, the Solar stage scenario requires students to create a theatrical performance that tells a story about the use of solar energy. They then have to integrate research of past and current uses of solar energy, create and design a solar energy prototype that demonstrates the newest way to collect solar energy design. Students provide theatrical lighting to illuminate the presentation to create a special effect.

The second category is the most difficult. It is the instant challenge. Teams receive a scenario and have to solve the problem on the spot at the tournament with no previous preparation. Teams are allotted a certain amount of time for the various scenarios.

"Half of it is the kids learning what it's like to compete. Part of the fun is seeing what the other kids come up with. They have fun. We want them to have fun and enjoy it," said Hackett.