Destination Imagination Teams Shine at Global Finals
Mercer Island, WA, June 5, 2023 - Eleven Mercer Island Destination Imagination teams recently participated in the Global Finals tournament in Kansas City, Missouri and performed phenomenally well. We represented less than 2% of the 589 teams at the tournament, and yet the teams took home 16% of all the first-place awards! Additionally, they earned a second place for the senior level Technical Challenge and five special awards. All of the MI teams did an amazing job and deserve congratulations. One Senior Level team, RatDItouille, had the distinction of winning the most awards ever awarded a high school team in DI history. They earned a Renaissance Award for their Instant Challenge, a Renaissance Award for their main challenge, the High Instant Challenge award, and first place for Senior Level Fine Arts.
This year, we had teams partake in the tournament at the elementary, middle, and senior level participating in six different challenge areas: Engineering, Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational Acting, and Service Learning. Many of these teams are led by parent volunteers who dedicate themselves to supporting the students as they reach for the top. Our incredible volunteers include: Elizabeth Loiselle, Christina Hua, Tiffin Goodman, Melinda Reimer, Ruby Azeem, Susan Kim, Justin Pae, Winky Lai, and Mei Ying. Staff Team Managers include Julie Langley and David Baxter. David also acts as program coordinator. Kirsten Bourke is the coordinator assistant for the teams, and Nuria Lencina is the fantastic administrative assistant who supports the program with accounting and several other tasks.
Students involved in Destination Imagination have spent 25+ weeks creating a story that connects to their specific challenge, delving into skills such as designing and creating technically sophisticated sets and props, crafting team costumes, and incorporating “Team Choice Elements” which feature individual talents that can help add originality and craftsmanship into their solution. In addition to the STEM elements of Destination Imagination, students learn the very important life skills of working collaboratively, supporting opinions with logical reasoning, and respectfully considering the ideas of others.
The Mercer Island DI program has had a long history of success, and it is due in large part to the support of the Mercer Island School District, district staff, and the many parents who volunteer their times as Team Managers, appraisers, and all-around helpers.
Congratulations to all the teams on their hard work and achievements!
High School Level Teams
RatDItouille was awarded two Renaissance Awards, the High Instant Challenge Award, and First Place for their Fine Arts solution. When food critic Anton Ego dies while eating ratatouille, the health inspector/attorney/scammer/out of work actor is called in to help prosecute Anton’s murderer. Their special award comments included, “From the well-composed musical score to the flashy choreography, to the fabulous rotating stage, to the noteworthy flashback of a literary device, this story was cohesive and really did have it all.” Another comment was “This team's razor-sharp understanding of the Instant Challenge and positive teamwork exemplified not only how a challenge can be aced, but also how fun Instant Challenge can be.” Team members include: Eliot Geer, Tyler Langley, Lucas Lessard, Sidh Shroff, Julius Perez, Sol Park, and Daniel Marcus. The Team Manager is David Baxter.
Tortellini in Tutus was awarded First Place and a Renaissance Award for their Service Learning project combating Period Poverty, both locally and globally. In their story, characters are trapped in a carnival and must overcome high stakes challenges in order to win their freedom. For their Renaissance Award the appraisers said, “This team's presentation exemplified attention to detail and well-executed performance, integration, and technical design work raising awareness and supplies around women's health…Every aspect of this team's Presentation and solution captivated the audience.” Team members include: Adelaide Swenson, Amelia Han, Stella Chen, Isabella Sullivan, Sophia Loiselle, Ale Selden, and Vivian Gan. The Team Manager is Julie Langley.
The Mean Green Beans took home First Place and the High Instant Challenge Award for their Scientific Challenge solution. During their solution we learn about the newest AI robot Tessa, who is pitted against Carly, who has a human brain. The game show themed solution shows the complexity of human cognition and how it can still outperform an algorithm (at least for now). Team members include: Aadyaa Singhal, Blakeley Bourke, Jasmine Bandrio, Sadie Kim, Steffi Kim, and Rilke Dalton. The Team Managers are Susan Kim and Mei Ying.
Frankintime was awarded Second Place at the Global Finals Tournament. Their Technical Challenge solution included building a giant 10-foot functioning clock that was assembled using two puzzle solvers, one utilizing a claw operated wirelessly by a glove and the other a stacker crane with an electromagnet attached on a slider, and told the story of competing clock companies who are each trying to win the respect of the community (and money) as the first company to repair the broken timepiece. Team members include: Aditi Mannby, Keegan Wang, Nandini Damodaran, Bobby Selden, Jonathan Aggar, Alex Lemus, and Melissa Woo. The Team Manager is Julie Langley.
Heroic Villains earned Sixth Place for their comedic story about how Loud Larry and Digging Doug broke out of jail using just the power of Larry’s voice. Thanks to expert testimony and a demonstration of how sound waves can break a glass, Doug almost wins his freedom but a spoon discovered at the scene of the crime has both crooks back in jail serving time. Team members include: Alex Millman, Lexi Liu, Naomi Do, Anna Koskinen, Ryan Kinder, Ben Lamperti, and Connor Wood. The Team Manager is David Baxter.
You Have Food on Your Shirt earned Eighth Place for creating an improvisational skit about an Underdog preparing for and participating in a Marching Band Competition - how fitting for Mercer Island. They incorporated an expert into the skit and used only trash bags and rubber bands to help tell their hilarious story. The performance kept the audience engaged and laughing the entire time, especially when the team members impersonated the Globals appraisers. The team members include: Brenden Sung, Trisha Choudhary, Maxwell Linke, Graham Lucas, Tristan Chan, Sidd Siravara, and Vibhu Shinde. The Team Manager is Julie Langley.
Not So Average Joes earned Fourteenth Place at the Global Finals tournament. For their Engineering Challenge, mere humans interact with the gods of Mount Olympus where they need to overcome three challenges in order to return to Earth. Their massive roller coaster had a golf ball traveling the second longest distance in the entire tournament and traveled at the third quickest rate - very impressive. Team members include: Gareth Tatum, Molly Dudley, Simone Shenoi, Ashwin Krishnaswamy, Ted Matheson, Anahita Najafian, and Steven Gao. The Team Manager is Julie Langley.
Middle School Level Teams
Cat-a-strophic Cookies earned Fourth Place at the Global Finals. Their story of a ‘cat’ CEO running a yarn company included a puzzle that projected a picture of the cat once assembled. They had two technical puzzle solvers that assembled the puzzle as the team traveled through time collecting clues to the mystery of the CEO. Team members include: Hadrian Finch, Sahaj Shah, Matthew Strong, Guillem Sullivan, Jay Mehta, Esha Shroff, and Clare Capasso. The Team Manager is David Baxter.
The Fluffy DI.nasaurs tied for Sixth Place at Global Finals. Their ‘Flip the Script’ story retold Jack and the Beanstalk from the point of view of the Goose. Their solution included a background that changed automatically using a pulley system, rap music, puppetry, and an original soundtrack. Team members include: Nolan Kim, Lucas Pae, Andrew Wang, Lillian Wu, Rhadika Jhavei, and Ashwin Krishnamoorthy, and Auderpop Ardillo. The Team Managers are Susan Kim, Justin Pae, and Winky Lai.
Counter Theory earned Twelfth Place at Global Finals with their touching story of a man whose heart was so big and full of compassion that it actually led to his demise. The story is told from the point of view of a futuristic alien that recalls how humans pushed their planet too far and paid the ultimate price. As with all Scientific Challenges, their solution educates as it entertains. The team members include: Tessa Baumgarten, Adele Ross, Isaac Reimer, Evie Pyeun, Aidin Azeem, and Nikhil Kini. The Team Managers are Tiffin Goodman, Melinda Reimer, and Ruby Azeem.
Elementary Level Team
Drama Dragons earned Fourteenth Place out of a whopping 50 teams at the elementary level. Their take on The Lion King focuses on Kiara, the daughter of Simba, as the new ruler of the land. The team was inspired by the history of women not being allowed to do things independently when activities were deemed ‘boy/male’ and showed how leadership need not be limited by gender. The team wowed the crowd with their fantastic costumes and a team coded robot that served as their focus shift. Team members include: Taylor Hua, Isabelle Loiselle, Amina Harper, Sophia Wang, Clementine Masada, Kaira Reddy, and Mira Prakasam. The Team Managers are Elizabeth Loiselle and Christina Hua.
The Mercer Island School District is hosting a Community Zoom webinar on Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm on the review of the curriculum of the health and physical education programs at Mercer Island High School and Islander Middle School.
Superintendent Dr. Fred Rundle hosted a MISD Budget and Human Resources community webinar on Tuesday, February 6.
Back in August when opening the school year with our staff, I quoted something Pete Carroll said in an interview a few years ago that has stuck with me.
All four Mercer Island School District Elementary Schools will be holding school tours on Thursday, February 8 and Wednesday, April 17. The tours will take place from 9:30am-11am.