MOUNT VERNON — On Saturday, OH DI Rocks came to town, descending upon Mount Vernon for the 2010 state Destination Imagination tournament. Destination Imagination is the largest creative problem solving organization in the world, with affiliates in all 50 states, as well as 27 foreign countries, including China and Japan.
Sponsored by the Ohio Kids for Creativity Association, the state competition was held on the campus of Mount Vernon High/Middle School and featured 173 teams of five to seven members each. Each team had one, sometimes two, team managers, and an army of supporters.
“This is a great opportunity for kids to be creative in using their learning abilities,” said Mount Vernon School Superintendent Steve Short. “It’s moving the bar up as far as expectations go. The number of parents and family and grandparents here to support the kids — it’s just amazing.”
Leslie Gabbert, tournament director, said Mount Vernon was a perfect venue for the match.
“It is centrally located, and has great spaces,” she said. “Now that we have found a facility this awesome to host us, we are thrilled.”
The middle school and high school were humming with activity, all orchestrated by site director Lori Beach, coordinator of gifted, enrichment and federal programs for Mount Vernon City Schools.
“The quality and number of volunteers that put this together is really great,” said one parent from Youngstown. “This is amazing.”
Just as parking on campus was at a premium as spectators arrived to cheer their teams to victory, local businesses, such as motels and restaurants, were also affected by the horde. Between events, contestants and their “cheerleaders” fanned out across Mount Vernon and found, according to overheard conversations, warm welcomes wherever they went.
“This is a beautiful town,” more than one parent said. “It’s pretty and it is easy to find where you want to go.”