Stephanie's Heroes: Darlene Spalding

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

Feb 6, 2012

For Darlene Spalding, Locust Grove Middle School is like a home away from home. She is at the Orange County school every Monday volunteering with students.

“It's just very rewarding to spend the time with them to get to know them,” said the Destination Imagination team leader.

Spalding is a manager for the 8th grade Destination Imagination team.

“The team manager is really the facilitator. The kids have to do all the work, I just try to keep them on track. It's a good way to see what the kids are doing, and I really get a kick out of them,” she said.

Destination Imagination is a global program that teaches problem-solving and critical thinking. Spalding helps students with a variety of challenges, like building a launching device. Using materials like cups, chopsticks, rubber bands and a spoon they must pull together as a team to get the job done.

“Ms. Spalding has been right in there with them. She comes every week, she brings snacks and she plans their activities as far as directing them and guiding them,” said Faithe Foster, a gifted & talented teacher at the school. "She really does help to instill in them that sense of responsibility and just creative task commitment."

While Spalding remains hands-off when it comes creating the projects, that hasn't stopped her from sharing valuable lessons.

"In today's world you have to be able to get along with people, and I think that helps them to do that because they have to get along in a group in order to come up with a solution in order to compromise and be able to listen to each other,” she explained.

The Orange County Office on Youth recently recognized Spalding with a youth advocate award for all of her work with Destination Imagination.

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