Mercer Island teams advance to Destination Imagination Global Finals

Three Mercer Island teams have qualified for the Destination Imagination Global Finals following the state DI tournament on March 24 in East Wenatchee.

Destination Imagination (DI) is an educational program in which student teams solve a variety of open-ended challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. The Global Finals will be held May 23 to 26 in Knoxville, Tenn. 

“This was our best showing to date,” said Mark Headlee, a teacher at West Mercer Elementary who manages several teams. Twelve teams competed at the tournament and 10 teams received at least one award. Once again, I am very proud of how well all of the teams represented the Mercer Island School District.”

High School Results:

1st Place, Technical Challenge (qualified for Global Finals), Team Syntax Folly: Andrew Motz, Derek Wang, Ethan Torok, Nico Galvin, William Lacrampe, Alex White, Damien Snyder. Team Manager: Mark Headlee.

1st Place, Scientific Challenge (qualified for Global Finals), Team Sauce: Ryan Shobe, Vinny Ricci, Sophia Ristuben, Justin Skene, Ichiro Nakata, Oliver Schaaf. Team Manager: Mark Headlee.

2nd Place, Engineering Challenge, Team This Isn’t Legible: Jake Chansky, Landon Schmidt-Warnecke, Renee White, Sam Frohlich, Justin Lesko, Kevin Wang, Wesley Ho. Team Manager: Mark Headlee.

3rd Place, Improv Challenge, Team We Aren’t Here: Bridger Bourke, Steven Perzia, Ella Thunen, Jasper Geer—Team Manager: Mark Headlee.

Middle School Results:

1st Place, Engineering Challenge (qualified for Global Finals), Team Between Dimensions: Keegan Wang, Sidh Shroff, Daniel Marcus, Aditi Mannby, Anantika Mannby, Eliot Geer, Tyler Langley. Team Manager: Mark Headlee. This team also earned a DaVinci Award. This is Destination Imagination’s most prestigious award, according to Headlee.

The appraisers remarked: “This middle level team presented a mature story that integrated both literal and figurative elements to convey familiar fairy-tale characters escaping their two-dimensional world. We were impressed by the team’s creative use of shadow scenes and flat scenery in the two-dimensional world which then transformed into vibrant costumes and three-dimensional scenery through multiple motors. This team expanded our ideas of how the structure of stories can come alive!”

2nd Place, Engineering Challenge, Team Taco Cats: Ethan Chang, Lucas Lessard, Alden Ritter, Madison Liu, Jacqueline Brown, Samantha Pelter, Katherine Montpellier. Team Manager: David Baxter. This team also received a first place for Instant Challenge. 

In the middle level Scientific Challenge, Team D.I. Why? also earned a DaVinci Award. Team: Jihao Yang, Aidan Klein, Kyle Iwasaki, Gareth Tatum, Jonathan Aggar, Marko Loop, Noah Do. Team Manager: Ellis Reyes.

The appraisers remarked: “This team demonstrated outstanding originality and creativity when they thought of a plot the blew the appraisers’ minds. They presented us with a kingdom which required its citizens to be ‘spoonists’ and only use spoons and never mention the evil fork even though starvation was on the horizon. A compromise between the spoonists and forkists resulted in the spork only to be challenged by the chopstick police!”

Elementary Results:

3rd Place, Technical Challenge, Team We Haven’t Decided Yet!: Simone Shenoi, Sophia Loiselle, Addie Swenson, Sahana Subramanian, Anahita Najafian, Ava Eberhart, Amelia Han. Team Manager: Chris Cocklin-Ray This team also earned 1st Place in Instant Challenge. 

2nd Place, Fine Arts Challenge, Team The Brave Cowards: Alexa Millman, Zachary Said, Sam Paddor, Ryan Kinder, Lexi Liu, Calvin Kovalok, Naomi Do. Team Manager: David Baxter.

1st Place in Instant Challenge, Team How Do You Pronounce This? Improv Challenge Team: Connor Wood, Winston Mazure, Charlie Thompson, Arman Najafian, Will McDonald, Jan Kolyczyk, Julius Perez. Team Manager: Mark Headlee.