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Destination Imagination teams impressed the appraisers with creativity and craftsmanship at two tournaments

Destination Imagination teams impressed the appraisers with creativity and craftsmanship at two tournaments
Ian Henry
Destination Imagination team with trophy

Mercer Island, WA, May 16, 2024 - The Mercer Island School District Destination Imagination (DI) teams had a fantastic showing at both the Regional and State DI competitions. For the first time ever, all 23 of our teams advanced from the regional tournament to the state competition. In addition to many first and second place awards, teams earned several special awards recognizing exceptional technical designs, integration of music and art into their solutions, and the inclusion of superior engineering elements. 

Check out some pictures of the teams and a short movie from the MISD DI banquet using this link

At the state tournament 19 of the teams earned first, second, or third place. As a group they earned 10 first place awards, 6 second place awards, and 3 third place awards. Teams also received 6 special awards including; multiple Renaissance Awards for outstanding skill in design, engineering, and execution or performance, and a DaVinci Award for a unique approach in solving the problem while taking risk with outstanding creativity. Twelve of our teams are continuing to the Global Finals tournament in Kansas City next week.

Students involved in Destination Imagination have spent 1-3 hours a week for 20 weeks getting ready for the competition. In addition to creating a story that connects to their specific challenge, they delve into skills such as designing and creating technically sophisticated sets and props, crafting costumes, and incorporating “Team Choice Elements” that feature individual talents that can help add originality and craftsmanship to 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 (especially Dr. Rundle), and the many parents who volunteer their times as Team Managers, appraisers, and all-around helpers. A total of 145 students from all 6 Mercer Island schools participated in the DI program this year. 

Congratulations to all the teams who have competed this season!

Elementary Level Teams

Hocus Pocus: We Won’t Focus participated in both the regional and state competitions earning a fifth and seventh place respectively. Team members include Marie Fortson, Ainsley Peterson, Carmen Hasenberg, and Isa Bundesmann. Team Managers are Jane Fortson and Adrienne Peterson. 

The Crazed Monkeys won second place at the regional competition and took home a first place trophy along with a Renaissance award for their outstanding technical design at state. This team is traveling to the Global Finals tournament. Team members include Mitchell Dudley, Masa Uvelli, Alfred Wang, and Spencer Mi. The Team Manager is Nathan Dudley.

The Frying Pans took second place at the regional competition and followed that with an impressive third place finish at the state tournament. Team members include Kabir Sachan, Alden Miller, Zach Howshar, Myra Shinde, Joe Matheson, and Zayden Baker. Team Managers are Pooja Sachan and Marya Swenson. 

Crafters earned second place at the regional tournament and eighth place at the state event. Team members include Emma Gao, Allison Savage, Evelyn Jing, Leo Furdell, Yuya Muraoka, Silas Ross, and Leo Stiepleman. The Team Manager is David Baxter. 

The Purple Potatoes is a fourth grade team that took home the first place trophy at the regional tournament and second place at the state tournament. Team members include: Teo DiPasquo, Felix Soeprono, Rishab Wishwas, Liam Nelson, and Elliot Capasso. The Team Managers are Madhuri Koushik, Robin Li, and Thomas Soeprono.

DI Maniacs have returned to DI for a second year and rocked the technical challenge winning first place at both the regional and state tournaments. This team will be traveling to Global Finals next week. Team members include: Oliver Reimer, Neeraj Kini, Adam Augustine, Joyce Yuan, Grace Li, Raahi Dalal, and Noah Chu. The Team Managers are Melinda Reimer and Pei Guo. 

Drama Dragons chose the scientific challenge this year and not only won first place at the regional and state competitions but also received a DaVinci award. The team will be traveling to the Global Finals for a second time. Team Members include: Taylor Hua, Isabelle Loiselle, Sophie Wang, Mira Prakasam, Kaira Reddy, Clementine Masada, and Amina Harper. The Team Managers are Elizabeth Loiselle and Ayesha Harper. 

Laughing is Contagious brought the story of Van Gough’s Starry Starry Night to life and earned fourth place at the regional tournament and fifth place at state. The team members include: Abigail Browd, Miko Urakawa, Aria Pareek, Shaivi Pandya, Divya Sri Pipavath, Charlotte Clifford, and Jessie White. Lynn Browd is the Team Manager. 

Middle School Level Teams

Holy Guacamole won second place at the regional and third place at state. This creative crew crafted their story around the age-old dilemma, which kind of pizza rules supreme? Team members include: Meera Mishra, Alice Shang, Maryam Gengler, Felix Thompson, Anvi Gowda, and Arianna Zhao. The Team Managers are Neelam Saboo and Qingchun Ren

Dazzling Dragon Fruits is one of our fantastic middle-school teams. This group earned third place at regionals and second place at state. The team will be part of Global Finals. Team members include: Alexis Gold, Eliana Gold, Cecilia Fortson, Arshia Singhal, Neeva Mody, Claire Choe. The Team Managers are Darren Gold and Michael Choe. 

Bīngqílín participated in the engineering challenge where teams needed to launch bean bags a specified distance using a team-designed launching device that will transform half way through the presentation. The team won first place at both the regional and state tournaments and will be representing MI at the Global Finals tournament. Team members include: Callie Baumgarten, Aditi Choudhary, Ahana Zaveri, Ian Fung, Kanav Shah, Isla Ames, and Viki Wang. The Team Manager is Tiffin Goodman. 

Queens (Don’t Go Bonkers!) earned second place at the regional tournament and first place at the state tournament. As part of the Scientific Challenge the team needed to create a ‘puppet’ that represents a character from the past. This team crafted and programmed a robot that has avoided death but in an unexpected way. The team is going to the Global Finals. The team members include: Sabine Fleming, Grace Lucas, Kavya Muralidhar, Gitanjali Krishnan, Phoebe Carr, and Evie Pyeun. The Team Managers are Suzanne Zahr and Subramanian Muralidhar.

Gumball Gang earned first place at both the regional and state tournaments for their journey to the Candy Kingdom. The team is advancing to the Global Finals tournament in May. Team members include: Esha Shroff, Clare Capasso, Guillem Sullivan, Jay Mehta, Sahaj Shah, Kerem Cansızoğlu, and Rowan Perez. The Team Manager is David Baxter.

Used Car Salesmen earned third place at the regional competition and second place at the state tournament for their engineering challenge presentation. The team members include: Leo Argella, Calder Laughlin, Abhi Hasbe, Arnav Hasbe, and Vivaan Datta. The Team Managers are Swati Hasbe.

Oh-Oh Spaghettios! included some incredible live jazz music into their scientific challenge story about an event from the past and earned first place at the regional competition and sixth place at the state tournament. The team members include: Elliot Vivion, William Browd, Liem McMullan, Viren Pareek, Milan Urakawa, Eliot Plichta, and Bowen Nago. The Team Managers are Lynn Browd and Sonal Patil.

Wait, It's a Tie! took home second place at the regional tournament and third at state. They created a giant pinball machine and a story that brought the audience to Egypt for their challenge. Team members include: Nolan Kim, Charlotte Westover, Noah Tan, Aaron Gu, Grant Ross, Stefan Duke, and William Goldman. The Team Manager is Susan Kim.

High School Level

Oh Shoot, I Forgot participated in the engineering challenge launching bean bags in two unique ways. This team took home second place at both the regional and state tournaments. The team members include: Nikhil Mahesh, Samo Lassila, Neil Pandya, Khai McMullan, Derek Weiss, Amani Bergquist, and ​​Alexander Cheney. The Team Manager is Jamie Cooke. 

Counter Theory created a wonderful service learning project raising awareness of health issues that high school students face. They earned first place honors at both the regional and state tournaments. This team will be competing at Global Finals in May. The team members include: Tessa Baumgarten, Adele Ross, Isaac Reimer, Nikhil Kini, and Ella Choe. The Team Managers are Tiffin Goodman and Melinda Reimer.

The Mean Green Beans earned first place at both the regional and state tournaments in the scientific challenge. They will be traveling to Kansas City for Global Finals to represent Mercer Island. Team members include: Aadyaa Singhal, Blakeley Bourke, Jasmine Bandrio, Sadie Kim, Steffi Kim, Rilke Dalton, and Ethan Park. The Team Manager is Susan Kim.

Born to DI was awarded first place at both the regional and state tournaments. The team impressed appraisers and audience alike with a beautiful Ferris Wheel crafted from paint stir sticks as well as unique costumes using unexpected materials. Team members include: Aditi Mannby, Keegan Wang, Nandini Damodaran, Alex Lemus, Melissa Woo, Sophia Tsepenyuk, and Robert Dang. The Team Manager is Julie Langley. 

Diet Mtn. Dew took second place at both the regional and state tournament. They have a wonderful service learning project that addresses the needs of millions of people. The team will be presenting their solution at Global Finals in May. Team members include: Sophia Loiselle, Isabella Sullivan, Adelaide Swenson, Amelia Han, Justin Li, and Ella Gao. The Team Manager is Julie Langley. 

Heroic Villains took home first place awards at the regional tournament and second at state. The team will be going to Global Finals in May. This was one of several MI teams that brought history to life with a team created puppet in this scientific challenge. Team members include: Alex Millman, Lexi Liu, Ryan Kinder, Connor Wood, Anna Koskinen, Naomi Do,and Ben Lamperti. The Team Manager is David Baxter.

Artificially Intelligent was awarded first place at both the regional and state tournaments and will be heading to Kansas City for Global Finals. The team is participating in the fine arts challenge and put art ‘in motion’ with a team created elevator and a musical script. Team members include: Lucas Lessard, Sidh Shroff, Daniel Marcus, Julius Perez, Stella Chen, Logan Herzinger, and Alden Ritter. The Team Manager is David Baxter. 

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