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Four Mercer Island Destination Imagination teams head to state tournament

The Six Sparks team members show off the medals they won at the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament at Mercer Island High School. - Contributed photo
The Six Sparks team members show off the medals they won at the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament at Mercer Island High School.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Four Mercer Island teams that participated in the Destination Imagination (DI) Regional Tournament at Mercer Island High School (MIHS) will advance to the DI State Tournament in East Wenatchee on March 29. There they will compete to earn a spot at the Global Tournament from May 21-24 in Knoxville, Tenn.

“I extend my deep congratulations to the teams representing the schools in the Mercer Island School District,” 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. This year, MIHS hosted the DI Regional Tournament.

“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 the Regional 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.

The four teams going to the State Tournament are:

Los Tacos Hermanos from MIHS in the Improv ChallengeMembers are: Cole Nielsen, Bryan Zhao, Verli Chen, Ben Stoops and Jay Rosenstein.Coach: Mark Headlee

Dino, Inc. from MIHS in the Structure ChallengeMembers are:  Alexa Bauman, Natalie Godby, Trevor Gullstad, Grace Hunter, Jay Rosenstein, Aidan Wang and Jason ZhuCoach: Mark Headlee

The Nova Wolves in the Elementary Structure ChallengeMembers are:  Jake Chansky, Wesley Ho, Kevin Wang, Miya Nakata, Jessica Zhang, Max Zhao and Landon Schmidt-WarneckeCoaches: Chris Cocklin-Ray and Mark Headlee

The Six Sparks in the Elementary Technical ChallengeMembers are: Anantika Mannby, Andrew Yeh, Vishy Kamalpuram, Aidan Klein, Sai Pipavath and Agnes MarCoach: Chris Cocklin-Ray

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