Mercer Island Destination Imagination teams place in Global Finals

Mercer Island
Mercer Island's elementary Structural Engineering team, consisting of (from l-r) Landon Schmidt-Warnecke, Jake Chansky, Kevin Wang, Jessica Zhang, Miya Nakata, Wesley Ho and Max Zhao placed 28th at the Destination Imagination Global Finals.
— image credit: Contributed photo

After winning honors for creativity, teamwork and problem solving in local, regional and state tournaments, three Mercer Island teams placed with distinction in the Destination Imagination Global Finals, which took place May 21-24 in Knoxville, Tenn. The high school structural engineering team took 12th place, the elementary technical team took 13th place and the elementary structural engineering team took 28th place.

A record 1,412 DI teams and nearly 8,000 students competed in the global tournament. More than 200,000 students competed in the DI tournaments this season.

“The Destination Imagination competition requires students to work through some very demanding critical thinking and problem solving processes taking place in the classroom. I extend my deep congratulations to the teams who represented the schools in the Mercer Island School District at the Global Finals,” said Mercer Island School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano. “I am constantly impressed by our students’ talent, dedication and how they represent our schools in such great fashion. My thanks go to the coaches who are helping our students realize their passions and their dreams.”

For eight years, Mercer Island students have competed in the non-profit DI program, which presents educational challenges to students in a variety of areas to enable students to develop 21st century skills like creativity, teamwork and problem solving.

“We have had tremendous support over the years from the school board, administration, staff, parents, and students,” said Mercer Island coach and West Mercer Elementary teacher Mark Headlee.

This year Mercer Island had 12 teams with participants in grades 4-11, with teams from each elementary school, Islander Middle School and MIHS. Each DI season takes place between September and May. Teams practice their Challenge solutions before each tournament, where they present solutions to problems they have prepared. For example, the Fine Arts category challenge is to research comedic artists from a country other than their own and develop a theatrical performance, three live comic strip panels and an artifact inspired by the work of art. In the Scientific category, students must study an extreme environment, present a story about characters who adapt to that environment and design and create extreme gear to help people survive in those conditions.

Students bring props and costumes for many of those prepared solutions, but also have to face shorter form, instant challenges that put their creative skills to the test without preparation.

Also at this year's competition, students set a Guinness world record for the greatest number of students wearing duct tape costumes.

Mercer Island High School's Structural Engineering team took 12th place at the Global Finals. The team is coached by Mark Headlee. From left, Natalie Godby, Alexa Bauman, Trevor Gullstad, Aidan Wang, Jason Zhu and Grace Hunter (contributed photo).

Mercer Island's elementary Technical Team took 13th place at the Destination Imagination Global Finals. The team consists of (from left) Anantika Mannby, Aidan Klein, Sai Pipavath, Vishy Kamalapuram, Andrew Yeh and Agnes Mar. Behind the team are coaches Chris Cocklin-Ray and Mark Headlee (contributed photo).


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