Some solid detective work, performing and technical innovation put a local Destination Imagination (DI) team on the world map.
Mercer Island High School’s Team 7-Bit placed third in the secondary level Technical Challenge category at the recent Global Finals virtual tournament, which featured about 800 teams utilizing their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills to solve a physical challenge during a pair of five-minute videos.
In the main challenge, they designed a presentation in the style of a video game. During “Detective Quest,” the central character uses The Thinking Machine to weed through the suspects and name the culprit of a house burglary. The video features the team members as actors to accompany an animation element.
The Final Boss Technical Fast Flex Challenge, which is a slight variation of the main challenge, features two interns stuck in the “Pop Star Battle” video game who have to conquer the game to return to the real world.
Team members penned original scripts for both challenges and incorporated rhyming and singing into the “Detective Quest” presentation. Their use of choice elements at the senior level in the “Pop Star Battle” video earned the students a first-place score in that section of the tournament.
The David Baxter-managed team consisted of Julius Perez, Daniel Marcus, Tyler Langley, Sidh Shroff, Sol Park, Lucas Lessard and Eliot Geer.
Baxter, who teaches at West Mercer Elementary School, said the team members are committed to their craft and strive for excellence while delivering a high-quality product.
“They have great collaboration skills. They consistently come up with ideas that are unexpected and original and build upon the ideas of each other,” said Baxter, adding that they respect and support each other, even when disagreements arise. Some of their Zoom meetings lasted up to four hours since they were so passionate about their presentations.
Lessard brought the team’s technical sophistication to a high level by creating an electro magnet to aid the detective in his quest and designing a 3D-printable musical instrument that played a song and lulled the dog to sleep.
Park noted that he became interested in DI because, “I thought it was a great opportunity for team-building skills and just to enhance our creativity.”
Geer, who witnessed the videos come to life from his editor’s chair, said it was challenging filming each team member’s parts individually during the pandemic, but he helped stitch everything together into a solid final product.
He was excited and stressed during the process, but it all paid off in the end since everyone put time and thought into their performances, he said.
The time crunch to put everything together quickly — and during finals week — was challenging for Langley. As the minutes to deadline ticked by, the team came through with top-notch results.
“Everyone in this group cares a lot about DI and are willing to push off quite a bit in order to make sure things get done. It’s because people were willing to do that, to put off other commitments, that’s the reason we were able to do so well,” he said.
For Marcus, who’s been involved with DI for seven years, he felt the team devised an entertaining plot, acted well in their roles on screen and showcased their musicality.
“We make it happen, we put in the work, we really work together to make something cool,” he said.
Perez feels the team’s positivity is vital to its success, and they were always willing to add new elements to their technical arsenal.
“Just going at every problem, every idea with a ‘yes’ mindset. Never going against each other, just building off of one another,” Perez said.
Other local teams finishing in the top 10 at Global Finals were:
Toast to Bread (Service Learning Challenge), 10th: Anantika Manby, Aditi Manby, Ben Kinder, Aidan Klein, Keegan Wang, Helin Wang and Ethan Cheney. Team manager: Julie Langley.
7 Wonders (Scientific Challenge), seventh: Blakeley Bourke, Steffi Kim, Sadie Kim, Aadyaa Singhal, Jasmine Bandrio, Tristan Chan and Sydney Parcel. Team manager: Julie Langley.
We Haven’t Decided Yet (Engineering Challenge), ninth: Sophia Loiselle, Sahana Subramanian, Adelaide Swenson, Amelia Han and Ava Zhang. Team manager: Julie Langley.
Heroic Villains (Fine Arts Challenge), eighth: Lexi Liu, Naomi Do, Ryan Kinder, Ben Lamperti and Alex Millman. Team manager: David Baxter.