Where were local students headed besides the podium March 9?

Destination Imagination, of course.

Three of four Hudson teams recently placed first at a Destination Imagination competition March 9 at Barberton Middle School, while the fourth team took second place.

In addition, an independent team with Hudson Montessori and Hudson middle school students took first place.

Vish Hegde, Hudson city schools volunteer district coordinator for Destination Imagination, said the event is a scholastic competition that offers challenges in technical, scientific, engineering, fine arts, improvisational, service learning and early learning fields.

"I would say DI is a combination of Science Olympiad, Lego Robotics and a Broadway show all put together," Hegde said. "The kids do a central challenge, which is an eight-minute play where they create all the props, costumes and story line. Along with the central challenge they do an instant challenge, where they have to do a task-based or performance-based challenge that they don't know about ahead of time— in a small amount of time."

The first-place teams now move on to the state competition March 30 in East Liverpool, Hegde said. Top teams at the state competition will qualify for a global competition at the end of May in Kansas City.

This marks the second year Hudson has sent teams to Destination Imagination, "and all four teams performed very well," Hegde said. Two teams were from the middle school, and two were from the elementary schools. All four teams participated in engineering and technical.

The teams that took first place include:

• Dumbledore’s Army, which included sixth-graders Riya Hegde, Adeline Pelletier, Lily Larsen and Tori Slotter, all from Hudson Middle School;

• Shining Stars, which included third-grader Trisha Ganguly, and second-graders Rithi Hegde, Alexie Weaver, Mae Waterman and Keira Middleton, all from Hudson City schools, and Kate Laning, a second-grader at Seton Catholic School;

• Astronauts Exploring the Universe, which included third-graders Maanav Patel, Sterling Meeker and John Neil, and fifth-grader Christian Renna, all from the Hudson City Schools, and fifth-grader Maya Vaden from Hudson Montessori school; and

• D. Isco Ballsa, which included Aanya Patel, a sixth-grader at Hudson Middle school, eighth-graders Shilpa Gopal and Aditi Sanghavi, Justin Vaden from Hudson Montessori and Pooja Vallampati from Harmon Middle school in Aurora.

Dumbledore’s Army also received a Renaissance award for outstanding design, engineering, execution and performance.

The team Mysterious Monsters, which included Hudson Middle School sixth-graders Graham Larsen, Teddy Lear, Hudson Rubin, Bryce Judson and George Barker, took second place.

"It has been a huge time investment for the kids and their families to dedicate to Destination Imagination sacrificing weekends and weeknights," said Hiral Rao, coach for Astronauts Exploring the universe.

More than 50 teams participated, Hegde said. Participating schools and districts also included Woodridge, Aurora, Crestwood and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC