GLEN ROSE - Placing first at regionals, fifth place at state and ranking 23 out of 73 teams from across the world, Glen Rose Intermediate gifted and talented students, along with their teacher, Donna Fowler, are outstanding to say the least.

In their inaugural year, Fowler led seven of her 3-5 grade gifted and talented students all the way to the Destination Imagination Global Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee, May 23-28.

Glen Rose Intermediate gifted and talented students who participated in Destination Imagination – both in Project Outreach and the Instant Challenge – included: third grader Justyn Winn, fourth grader Avery Gray and fifth graders Emma Parish, Grayci Adkins, Nathan Olguin, Walker Andrews and Caden McKenzie.

“We competed in the Project Outreach Challenge,” Fowler said. “The students had to choose a community project, it could be anything they wanted where they felt the community need help.”

“They had to create a community project, that’s where Pet Palooza Mini Camp: On the Bark Side, came about. We started brainstorming ideas in December and the kids, my gifted and talented students, have always been involved in project-based curriculum.”

Last school year, Fowler and her students helped with Hope for Paws and have held “pet parades”.

“They automatically knew that they wanted to do something with the shelter. They wanted to do something because the shelter is still full. Even though we were collecting food, blankets and toys, it was not enough,” Fowler said.

The students decided that they wanted to educate others on how to take care of pets.

“I was really proud of my students because they wanted to give their peers the gift of knowledge,” Fowler praised. “They said if we start educating the community starting with our peers about how to take care of your pets, maybe that would help the number of unwanted pets that wind up in the shelter.”

After brainstorming and collaborating, the students put together a four day camp for the community to attend, Pet Palooza Mini Camp, which informed all how to take care of pets properly. Dr. Gary Crabtree of Squaw Valley Veterinary, Second Chance Farm of Granbury, the Glen Rose Animal Shelter and Brett Rinderknecht of Country Pet Care attended the camp and spoke to the students and the community.

The students were then required to create an eight-minute presentation that showed the project’s timeline.

“Day one through four of the camp in a theatrical performance, eight minutes or less and it had to bring in a theme,” Fowler explained. “Star Wars was big with the kids this year and they thought it would be kind of cool. They dressed up as characters from the movie.”

The gifted and talented students were to perform the same skit for regionals, state and the global tournament. But for their second challenge, the “Instant Challenge”, they didn’t know what to expect at each competition.

“The instant challenge is amazing because the students don’t know what it is. You walk into a room and the challenge is there and you have a set amount of time to do it,” Fowler said. “ At the Global Tournament, the students walked in the room and there was a wooden box placed on a pedestal. Next to it was a table with different supplies like straws, sticks, paper, paper clips and just a variety of things.

“They had six minutes to brainstorm with each other to think of how they could make a marble maze. They had to figure out how they could make it from one end to the other.”

Fowler could be in the room with the students during the competition, but could not help them out.

“It’s actually the greatest blessing as an educator to see that all of the thinking types of activities that you taught them just to be quick thinkers and watching them do it on their own,” Fowler said.

The students placed 23 out of 73 at the Global Challenge. The placement is based off of a total combination of both the Outreach Challenge and the Instant Challenge scores.

Donna Fowler extends a thank you to the Glen Rose Lions Club, Arlington Lions Club, GRIS PTO, GRES PTO, Smith Supply, Jason and April Evans, Glen Lake Camp, Spinks & Green, The Transit System, Ronald McKenzie, Casey McKenzie, Northrop Grumman Foundation, Glen Rose Lodge, Luminant and Lilia Gray for support and donations.

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Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_GRR

(254) 897- 2282