School News

Students Successful at State Creativity Competition

Congratulations to New Indian School’s winning teams at the Destination Imagination state competition! Program director, Mark Wilkins said that of the nine teams that competed at the state competition, six teams have qualified to compete at the international competition in May. All of the teams will perform for the Fairfield community at the annual DI Showcase, Dinner & Silent auction on May 17 at New Indian School.

An international non-profit, volunteer organization, Destination Imagination aims to be the global leader in teaching the creative process from imagination to innovation and to “develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st Century Skills and creativity.” The program encourages teams of students to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process.

Students from kindergarten through university level participate. Each team has an adult team manager, but the adults cannot give any feedback or suggestions about solving the team challenge. This year two of New Indian School’s team managers are alumni and international champions in the DI Globals competition during their high school career. Managing the fifth grade boys is Eric Caplan, ‘10, who won second place with his team, in 2005. Managing the ninth grade team is Suzannah Schindler, ‘07, who won first place with her team in 2005, and received the DaVinci Award in 2006 for excellence in design and engineering. Schindler says, “I encourage other alums to give back- at Saturday instant challenge practice, as team managers or appraisers, or even just coming to the Showcase before Globals. It's so rewarding to help continue the program that was absolutely instrumental in my own educational experience.” Aaron Hirschberg,’03, has been volunteering as an appraiser for several years and is now training to be a Challenge Master at the state competitions. Aaron and team had a remarkable DI career as students, winning first place twice and second place twice at the international competition.

Teams compete in one of seven challenges. After months spent creating and developing their solutions, they present at sub-state and state tournaments. They also compete in a 10 minute “instant challenge.” Top-scoring teams advance to Global Finals, the world’s largest celebration of creativity with over 16,000 students competing from around the world.

Challenges and Results

Winning first place in the scientific challenge are 11th and 12th grade girls, Avery Travis, Leanna Miller, Univa Song and Qianqian Guo. Nita Travis is the team’s manager. The team researched and explained with visuals the theoretical physics behind the eventual collapse of the universe. They also designed and created survival gear and demonstrated it within the context of a story about characters in a space craft who survive in the extreme environment of the collapsing universe.

Winning first place in the technical challenge and managed by Donna Cingire are 10th and 11th grade boys, Bimba Shrestha, Doga Osezmi, Perry Apin, Gabe Sperry, Nathaniel Zhu, Giovanni Cingire, and Marcus Schoenfeld. The team presented a story about a technology that detects things a human cannot sense without help. They designed and built a robot which detected and removed hidden objects during their story.

The two New Indian School senior level teams competing in the fine arts category were so closely matched that both have qualified to compete at the international level. Winning by just over 2 points are ninth grade students Ellie Mason, Alista Wikle, Madelyn Stood, Phillip Winer, Loreena Hansen, and Catherine Yang. Theteam’s manager is Suzannah Schindler. The eleventh grade girls’ team is managed by Susan Huggins. Team members are Dia Huggins, Alina Knight, Kadie Roberts, Anna Unger, Amanda Valentine and Queena Zhou. The teams had to create a living comic book.

Winning first place in the elementary level structure challenge are fifth grade boys, Colin Siemsen, Lee Elliott, Benji Boucherle, Liam Soares, and David Ellinghaus. The team’s manager is Eric Caplan. The team had to build a weight-bearing structure that was tested against two forces at the same time. They also had to design a prop to specification and assemble it during the presentation of a story in which tension is a threat to stability and is overcome in some way.

Placing second at the middle school level of the structure challenge were seventh and eighth grade boys, Drew Schoenfeld, Bodhi Boucherle, Karthik Vempati, Pranav Chhalliyil, and Dante Cingire. The team manager is Noelle Boucherle.

Winning first place in the senior level improvisational challenge were Caleb Mullenneaux, David Wadsworth, Tomas Bousquet, Ananth Ashok, and Ivan Liu. The team was managed by Cathy Wadsworth. The team was challenged with integrating current and past professions to resolve a conflict.

Winning third place in the improvisational challenge at the middle level were seventh and eighth grade girls, Paloma Braun, Bella Unger and Bea Winn-Bousquet. The team was managed by AnaVictoria Braun.

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