They call themselves the Swift Dumplings, and do they have a story for you.

“Two lacrosse players and a flight attendant crash in the middle of the Australian desert, and the flight attendant despises lacrosse and the two lacrosse players happen to have their lacrosse sticks with them, and they’re constantly playing lacrosse. They kind of just annoy the flight attendant. He takes their ball after they have been playing for several days, not helping him help them to survive, and then they get rescued, except there’s a catch, because the airplane that comes down to rescue them only has room for two people, so the lacrosse players leave the flight attendant on the desert,” explained Ezra McDonald, a seventh-grader at Stowe Middle School.

Ezra’s story is the background of the skit the Swift Dumplings had to perform as part of their Destination Imagination competition.

He plays the flight attendant, and twin teammates Izzie and Ethan Choularton play the lacrosse players. Behind the scenes, teammates Peyton Emory, Howle Percy and Asher Rosenbaum make up the engineering subteam.

The Swift Dumplings is Stowe Middle School’s Destination Imagination team, made up of six seventh-graders. On Monday afternoon they had split up into groups — four were working on the engineering component of the challenge, and Izzie and Ezra were hard at work crafting fundraising strategies for their upcoming trip to Kansas City, Mo. for the Destination Imagination Global Finals.

The team needs to raise $11,000 for the trip, said Izzie. Stowe Rotary has donated $500.

Global Finals start May 22.

The challenge

Destination Imagination promotes creativity and teamwork among elementary, middle and high school students. Teams can choose to complete technical, fine arts, scientific, engineering, service learning or improvisation challenges.

Stowe’s team chose the technical challenge, which meant they had to design, build and utilize an aircraft that takes off, flies and lands, design that aircraft to deliver a team-specified payload, and create a story about one or more characters exploring a remote place (such as the Australian desert).

That’s where the engineering group comes in.

The Swift Dumplings had to deliver five payloads — in this case, each payload was a single Sour Patch Kid candy.

The aircraft they designed were five rockets, made of insulation and launched out of a pressurizer with a pressure tank which has air pumped into it by a bike pump. The air is released by a ball valve knob and shoots the aircraft into trajectory.

Each rocket has a slot for the Sour Patch Kid, attached to a piece of ribbon. The ribbon was designed to tear the hatch over the slot away, allowing the Sour Patch Kid to fall on target.

Most other teams used modified drones, said Asher Rosenbaum; the Swift Dumplings came home from the Vermont Affiliate Tournament March 23 at the University of Vermont with the Da Vinci Award, which celebrates creativity, because they constructed their own aircraft.

Try, fail and fundraise

The team worked for about six months on the challenge, and they were still doing research and development Monday as they chatted with the Stowe Reporter.

Peyton said her favorite part of the design process was “probably the trial and error.”

“We failed at least three times,” said Howle.

“First we had multiple different ideas on what our aircraft would even be, and then, how to launch it, how exactly it would be shaped, because originally, we had it with straight fins,” Peyton said.

Other past versions included a squared-off nose, slit rear fins to allow for a spiraling flight, and different payload ejection systems.

The Swift Dumplings will be fundraising until May, and will make presentations to the Stowe Education Fund and other community organizations.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up at


Reporter • Stowe Reporter • Waterbury Record • News & Citizen

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