More Lakota Students Discovering Destination Imagination Two Teams Move on to State Competition

More Lakota Students Discovering Destination Imagination Two Teams Move on to State Competition
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Most parents and students don’t know what Destination Imagination (DI) is. And that’s what motivated Lakota parent Christine Westendorf to try to grow the program this year.

“DI is such a wonderful program,” said Westendorf. “It is completely designed around STEAM and teaches kids so much -- teamwork, persistence, problem-solving, how to build and paint and sew and use tools. It also allows them the freedom to be absolutely goofy and off-the-wall with their solutions.”

This year Lakota sent seven teams to the regional tournament held last weekend at Miami University, up from just two last year.

There are two parts to the competition: an instant challenge and the central challenge. In the instant challenge, students are given a task to complete (such as building a tower as high as you can in five minutes out of 50 sheets of paper or having seven minutes to create a new healthy candy and then present a commercial about it). Teamwork is highly important here, as students have no idea what the challenge will be until they step into the competition room.

The second part is the central challenge where teams choose from one of four challenges that range from writing a mystery story to building a vehicle. Teams work for months designing, building, writing, making costumes/props/backdrops and practicing. Students must do it all by themselves; teams are actually penalized for "outside interference" if a parent, coach or anyone not on the team makes something or gives ideas. “This really allows the kids to think as far outside the box as they want, but also challenges them to fix problems on their own (with their teammates) when they arise,” said Westendorf.

DI is a volunteer organization, which helps keep the cost per student down. Parent volunteers coach the teams, and Lakota LEADS helped to promote the event and even paid for the teams’ competition fees this year. Lakota LEADS is a parent group that works to provide enrichment opportunities for Lakota students.

The Rising Stars team from Shawnee and Creekside Early Childhood Schools was in a non-competitive division, but won the Da Vinci Award for outstanding creativity of their skit and team member Lydia Miller won the Spirit of DI Award for her excellent leadership of the team during the instant challenge portion of the competition.

Lakota had five elementary teams comprised of students from Adena, Cherokee, Endeavor, Freedom, Hopewell and VanGorden elementary schools. Endeavor's team named 'Destiny of Success' placed first in their division and will be moving on to the state tournament on April 16 in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Lakota’s middle school level team, consisting of students from Plains and Ridge junior schools, also placed first in their division and will be going to the state tournament. Their team name is 'At the Speed of Light' and one of its members, Plains seventh-grader Vidushi Trivedi, won a special Renaissance Award for composing and playing flute music that accompanied the team’s skit.

Aashish Shah, parent volunteer for the elementary team moving on to state said, “As an IT project manager, I can say that this competition truly prepares kids for modern project management, giving them the skills to come up with solutions – as well as learn how to deal with unexpected roadblocks that often come up in real world projects.”

Westendorf encourages Lakota students to look into DI next school year. Watch school newsletters for a DI Information Meeting flyer near the start of the 2016-17 school year.

Rising Star team members from Creekside and Shawnee Early Childhood Schools are (top row): Cohen Pollack, Sophia Vue, Hayes Megee, Anna Leitsch, Cora Westendorf; (bottom row) Lydia Miller and Charlie Bryan.

Endeavor's 'Destiny of Success' team moves on to the state competition after winning its division at the regional DI competition at Miami University. Team members include (from left to right): Aashish Shah (team manager/coach), Krish Shah, Arnav Moondra, Lavanya Trivedi, Keya Nevagi, Sunitvir Taunque, Ashish Trivedi (assistant coach).

Lakota's junior high team placed first and will be moving on to the DI state tournament in Mount Vernon, Ohio on April 16. Team members from Plains and Ridge Junior schools are (from left to right): Pranav Jois, Vidushi Trivedi, Anitvir Tanqu and Ashish Trivedi (team manager/coach).