OPA’s ‘Gibberinian’ qualifies for Global finals

From left, Andrew Cambalik, Liam Byrne, Riley Scott and Hannah Gloor. Team Gibberinian stands outside their school, Olympic Peninsula Academy. From now until late May the team will be preparing for the Technical Challenge competition at Destination Imagination
From left, Andrew Cambalik, Liam Byrne, Riley Scott and Hannah Gloor. Team Gibberinian stands outside their school, Olympic Peninsula Academy. From now until late May the team will be preparing for the Technical Challenge competition at Destination Imagination's Global Finals held at the University of Tennessee.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Alana Linderoth

For the fourth consecutive year a team from the Sequim School District will be competing at Destination Imagination’s Global Finals.

Since September the team, known as “Gibberinian” has worked, practiced and competed at both regional and state competitions to qualify for the Global Finals. Come May 21-24 the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., will host more than 16,000 people for the event. The Gibberinians are one of 1,300 teams, including teams from 47 states, seven provinces of Canada and 13 countries preparing to attend the Global Finals.

“It has been an incredible experience watching these kids stretch and grow working on this challenge,” team coach Kevin Scott said. “Every one of them has pushed themselves to new levels to be able to help their team compete.”

The team

This year’s Destination Imagination team consists of four middle school students from Olympic Peninsula Academy (OPA): Hannah Gloor, Andrew Cambalik, Riley Scott and Liam Byrne. For Gloor and Byrne this will be their first time attending Global Finals, whereas both Cambalik and Scott have competed before.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun interacting with people from all over the world,” Scott said. “That is probably one of my favorite parts about going to Global Finals.”

The challenge

In the time between now and Global Finals the team is working to tweak the original design of some of their equipment used to solve the Technical Challenge. For instance, instead of a wooden claw, the team is building a new claw made of Plexiglas.

This year the Technical Challenge required the team to design and build equipment to both detect and remove objects from hidden places and move all of the objects across a finish line. In addition, within a matter of eight minutes the team had to create and simultaneously present a story about their technology.

Unlike the previous year, this year’s Technical Challenge is much different according to veteran team members.

“(It’s) a lot different than last year because we focused on detecting objects rather than moving vehicles to different zones,” Cambalik said.

The program

Destination Imagination is a volunteer, nonprofit organization incorporated since 1982. Destination Imagination offers challenged-based programs that require students elementary through college levels to apply a variety of science, technology, engineering and math skills, in addition to improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation and teamwork.

The coaches of Destination Imaginations teams are not intended to provide answers, but instead coaches are there to lead and guide their team through the learning and problem solving process.

“I personally feel that participating in this program has given me an advantage in my regular academic classes,” Byrne said.

Going to Tennessee

Over the coming weeks, team members will be busy preparing for Destination Imagination’s Global Finals, including honing their solutions to the Technical Challenge.

“I sort of know what to expect (at Global Finals) and it sounds like a lot of fun,” Gloor said. “This has been my first time participating in Destination Imagination and so far it has been really fun and exciting.”

When asked as a team, the Gibberinians agree they’re most nervous about the potential of messing up during the competition, but the excitement of attending the Global Finals seemingly triumphs this nervousness.

Contributions are welcome to help defray the team’s travel, room and board costs to Tennessee. Contributions are tax deductible through affiliation with the OPA Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), a 501(c)(3). Checks should be made out to OPA PTO, contain a return address and mailed to P.O. Box 1133 Sequim, WA 98382. Call Steven Humphrey, OPA PTO co-president at 360-504-2690 if you have any questions or to obtain a tax deduction form for your contribution.

Contact Alana Linderoth at


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