On May 19th 2015, 9 boys from both grades 9 and 11 along with 2 teachers hopped on a flight to Knoxville, Tennessee for the Destination Imagination Global Competition. Two St. George’s School teams qualified, both the grade 11 team and the grade 9 team came second in their category respectively. The grade 11 team was made up of 5 boys: Eshan Cheema, Pascal Girard, Ezaan Mangalji, Jeremy Ho and Kevin Yu. The grade 9 team on the other hand consisted of only 4 boys: Darius Chan, Jamieson Eng, Mitchell Lam, Thomas Wang. Last but not least, the two teachers that kept all our shenanigans under control, Mrs. Asif and Mr. Sherman!
The day started with the group of eleven meeting at YVR at 8:15am. Although they were all tired, Kevin Yu (Grade 11) was excited to get there, “I hope Knoxville, Tennessee has its own Snapchat sticker!” he proclaimed with glee. After going through security the boys embarked on a four hour flight to Houston, Texas’ George Bush Intercontinental Airport. They stayed in Houston for half an hour before climbing on yet another airplane that would take them to Knoxville, Tennessee. The second flight was only two and a half hours long, but for the boys “it felt like we spent a millennia in the plane” (Eshan Cheema, Grade 11). Unfortunately when they finally did arrive at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport, their oversized luggage (two long bags that contained all their props for their skits) were lost in transit. The airport authorities claimed that the bags were still in Houston, but they assured Mr. Sherman that they would be returned before Friday, the day of the competition. Because of this delay, the 9 boys on the bus along with Ms. Assif, were asked to take the next bus when Mr. Sherman and the 2 boys who accompanied him came back. “No one said anything, so I was very confused” (Darius Chan, Grade 9).
When the group was finally reunited, they took a DI bus to the University of Tennessee campus. By now it was nearly 12:00am in Tennessee, but the night was still young, and more challenges were yet to come. The boys patiently waited another hour while throwing a football around. They were waiting for the the teachers who were filling out paperwork and trying to get us our rooms. When the rooms were finally given to the group, the 9 boys found out they would be inhabiting a 4 bedroom, apartment style dorm. Each of the dorm’s four rooms were equipped with one bed, but for the boys who weren’t on a bed, an inflatable mattress was given to them. Unfortunately the St. George’s ‘possy’ just wasn’t having a good day. Sadly, their room keys weren’t working properly either. After a half hour of attempting to open the door with their cards, they had to send down two messengers to go down to the front office and get them to open the doors manually.
Meanwhile, Pascal, Jeremey and Eshan were watching the NHL game (Chicago Blackhawks vs Anaheim Ducks) on Pascal’s phone. Although the quality was far from HD, and a constant lag in the video kept persisting, they were still able to enjoy the most Canadian of sports in the most American of states. Although the dorm wasn’t a 5 star hotel, the boys managed to survive the first night. That night, the jet lag kicked in. Most of the boys were only able to get 3 hours of sleep. But it wouldn’t matter anyways, because tomorrow the boys were headed to Dollywood!
After a short 3 hours of sleep the boys suddenly woke up to the sound of the alarms on their phones whaling in unison. It was 6:00am and although they were slow to get up, the 9 boys rushed to the lobby only half awake to begin their first day in Tennessee. After meeting up with the teachers, the band of boys and teachers marched to the eating quarters to fill their stomachs with some food for the day. Bacon, eggs, sausages and pancakes made up the bulk of their meal. But being the Canadian’s they were, their pancakes were seldom topped with the artificial syrup provided in the hall. Instead they feasted on their food with the high quality syrup that could only be found in the true North strong and free! “It’s by far my favourite tradition” the boys declared as they gulped down pieces of pancake smothered with syrup. After breakfast they carried their full stomachs to the buses that would take them to Dollywood! By now the gang was use to the heavy waiting time, so the half hour before bus departed, flew by. After a long one hour bus trek filled with sleeping children, the four wheeled DI transporter finally arrived at Dollywood. Most of the boys followed the teachers into nearly every roller coaster in the park until their stomachs finally twisted and turned like a fish on dry land. They spent the remaining time eating burgers at Red’s Drive-In, a 1950s styled Diner.