Students earn board approval for global competition

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

A pair of student groups, and a few of their parents, are hoping their final destination isn’t just in their imagination.

Student teams from the Gifted and Talented programs at Ranchvale and James R. Bickley elementary schools, which won the state Destination ImagiNation state tournament March 14, received approval from the Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education to travel and fundraise for the May 20-23 global competition in Knoxville, Tenn.

Under a request submitted to the board prior to Tuesday’s board visitation meeting at Bickley Elementary, the students would leave May 19 and return May 25 for the event, which focuses on creativity and problem solving skills in a group setting.

Fundraising is the question right now. Phil Lenfant, a parent of one of the students, said the group is about halfway to its approximate goal of $8,000, an average of less than $750 for the 13 students attending.

“I’m taking my three minutes to solicit your help,” Lenfant said at the meeting, “not only because I want to see these kids have a wonderful opportunity, but also because this is a chance for Clovis to put its community on a national map.”

Lenfant, who is retired military, said sponsorship of the event and others like it is instrumental in getting out a message to alleviate fears military families may have about local schools.

“They’re wonderful schools,” Lenfant said. “They compete nationally, and that message needs to be sent.”

Ranchvale Principal Suzanne Brockmeier said she is looking for as many ways to defray costs as possible, including asking local hotels to sponsor rooms for the students at their nationwide affiliate hotels in Knoxville and other travel points.

• The first team is from James Bickley Elementary. The sixth-grade group was tasked to build an hourglass structure, and to also create a skit that utilized two art forms. Littlejohn said the group made a skit about architecture and music.

Students on the team are Renee East, Savana Nelson, Claire Caffrey, Myrella Lopez, Taylor Jones and Erick Granillo.

• The second team, made of up fifth-graders and one sixth-grader from Ranchvale, won in the “Video Lit Hit” category, where the challenge was to create a music video based on a work of literature.

Students on the team are Caleb Sapp, Nicholas Lenfant, Mitchell Boddy, Abby Bugg, Katie Santz, Rosalia O’Brien and Corrie Domingo.