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Castle Pines schools make a strong showing at DI tourney

Elementary school students from Timber Trail and Buffalo Ridge (above) and representatives  from Rock Canyon High School (below) at this year’s Destination Imagination state tournament.

By Lisa Crockett; photos courtesy of Christina Kohl

Roughly 75 teams from Douglas County schools participated in this year’s Destination Imagination (DI) state tournament, including several from Castle Pines-area schools.  The Kohl family – mom Christina and sons Adam (14) and Alex (9) – made the event a family affair this year, representing Rock Canyon High School, Buffalo Ridge Elementary, and Timber Trail Elementary.

Christina, who served as a team manager and coach for both boys’ teams, said she’s enjoyed seeing the personal growth of the kids she’s coached – especially the eighth and ninth graders on Adam’s team, named #HashbrownsPlayingTag, over the years.

“I love DI because it’s a unique way to teach kids to think outside the box,” she said. “If the rules don’t specifically say you can’t do something, then you can do it. It teaches them to think creatively in a way not taught in other environments.”

Adam, along with teammates Nick Lombardi, Emre Diker and Gavin Geyer, have been together for three years now. This year, they opted to participate in an improvisation challenge, which required them to prepare a two minute skit, incorporating four surprise elements of setting and situation, in just 60 seconds. Because the skit parameters are given to contestants on the spot, it’s impossible to prepare specific skits ahead of time. Instead, the team spent the school year honing their improv skills and learning to think on their feet.

For the fourth year in a row, Adam was on a team that went to the state tournament, this year taking twelfth place out of 20 teams.

“In our challenge we had to do a movie trailer,” said Adam. “We all have different strengths; Nick is a great narrator, Gavin is good at doing really crazy roles like playing girls, Emre does animals, and I kind of fill in whatever else is needed. Learning to work together has been great.”

Not to be outdone, after years of watching Adam participate in DI, younger brother Alex made his first foray into the DI world this year, joining forces with two other boys and two girls to form the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies.  The team, comprised of third and fourth graders at Buffalo Ridge Elementary and Timber Trail Elementary, also participated in an improv challenge.

“I liked having my mom as a coach, and I really liked that even though it was only our first year, we made it to the state tournament,” said Alex. “Next year, I might want to try something different, like a science challenge.”

DI offers a variety of challenges in age-group divisions that range from engineering and science to the performing arts.  No matter what teams chose, the process is as important as the outcome and students are required to produce their own results – coaches are there to guide and encourage, but not to step in and help.

“I will definitely do DI again next year,” said Adam. “I don’t care too much about advancing after a state tournament and heading to Global Finals, but it would be fun to have the experience.”

For more info about Destination Imagination, visit



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