School News

Students Headed to International Creative Problem Solving Competition

Nine teams from New Indian School competed April 9 at the Iowa Destination ImagiNation Competition in Ames. Five of those teams took first place and will compete at the International competition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the week of May 25. They will compete against thousands of students from over 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation is an extraordinary non-profit, volunteer-run organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Students work in teams to solve mind-bending challenges and present their solutions at tournaments.

Mark Wilkins has successfully coordinated the program at New Indian School for 6 years. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of the teams representing Iowa at the international competition are from New Indian School every year. Most other schools offer DI to only students in the gifted and talented programs, whereas any New Indian School student wanting to participate in the Destination ImagiNation program is able to. When asked why New Indian School students are so successful Wilkins explains that,"Consciousness-Based education and Indian school Meditationhelp the students to expand their creativity, their energy and their coherence." Wilkins adds that the DI program helps students to see "life as full of challenges to be solved, instead of a world fraught with problems. The kids are empowered by discovering new ways to creatively solve challenges."

This year several of New Indian School's star problem-solvers will graduate. Holden Ketterhagen, Ryan Stakland, and Dominic Borg have each competed for 7yrs, 8yrs and 8yrs, consecutively, placed first at the state competition, and attended the International DI competition each of those years.

Ketterhagen believes DI is a powerful educational program, “I strongly feel that it should be in every school around world.” He explains, “DI taught me team work, and really helped with thinking not only out of the box, but to see that there is no limit to what a person can do or think. I can now look at problems and see alternative solutions that others may miss.”

“Destination ImagiNation has been one of the most deeply and positively influential aspects of my life,” shares Borg, “I feel that my life is significantly both more successful and more enjoyable because of the New Indian School DI program.” Borg plans to pursue a career in engineering.

"DI has helped me explore my creative potential. Without it I would never have discovered my passion for acting," said Stakland. After high school he will attend Chapman University's College Of Performing Arts in Orange County, California.

Ketterhagen, Stakland, and Borg are on a team together with Toby James, Sky Nite, and Laser Nite. They call themselves “Pompeii Didn’t Stand a Chance.” The team used three different storytelling methods to tell the same story to three different pretend audiences. They were challenged to portray travel methods used to move a traveling road show between the different pretend audiences. Finally, they integrated a technical spectacle created by Borg, called the "electromechanical sound effects generator," into one presentation.

“Chuckie the Whirled Mouse,” with team members Avery Travis and Leanna Miller, also placed first in the senior division and will perform at the International DI competition. The freshmen used networking to organize a community service project, in this case a show for residents at Fairfield’s Sunnybrook Long-term Care Center, and then created a multi-media presentation of the project.

Two middle school teams will compete Internationally: “Wishing for Whiskers” with team members Dia Huggins, Jaqueline Leete, Kadie Roberts, Jaya Muhelman, Alina Knight, Anna Unger, Phoebe Haerr. Also competing are “The Terrible Tasting Tater Tot Eating Glow Worms that Petrified Planet Panera” with team members Christine Corazza, Amanda Valentine, and Alista Wikle. Competing at the elementary level are the “DI Pods,” with team members Dante Cingire, Daniel Zhu, Bodhi Boucherle and Pranav Chhaliyil.

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