Four Hopkinton Destination Imagination Teams Headed to State Championship
The STEM competition challenges youth teams to compete in various challenges.
Submitted by Karen Webb
Hopkinton saw four teams win gold yesterday at the Destination Imagination regional tournament held in Uxbridge, MA. These four teams will go on to represent Hopkinton at the Massachusetts State Championship Tournament to be held Easter weekend at Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI.)
Destination Imagination (DI) is an international program which encourages teams of learners from elementary through high school to have fun, take risks, focus, and work on challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Through the DI challenges, team members learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. This year teams could choose from six core challenges which they work on from mid-fall through spring and then compete against other teams from their region in their age category.
This year, Hopkinton sent eleven teams to the Region 7 tournament in Uxbridge, competing in challenges such as “In the Zone” where teams had to design and build small vehicles that are able to reliably and accurately travel specific distances, and “Real to Reel” where teams had to design and carry out a project to address a community need and create a film to document their project. “I’m very proud of how all the teams did this year,” said Linda Holly, Hopkinton DI Coordinator. “No matter the outcome, the kids are all winners. DI is not about winning or placing, it’s about having fun, learning to work as a team, working to solve long-term and short term problems – lessons they’ll use all through life.”
Elementary school level teams going on to the State Tournament include the fifth grade team from the Hopkins School of Akila Sanjay, Michael Giusti, Ananth Sanjay, Mihika Abraham. This team competed in a structural engineering challenge where they had to build a structure that could survive a serious hit while holding weight. Also from the Hopkins School, the team of Mirabella Paolucci, Paige Lavelanet, Sara Bernardo, Adrina Arakelian, Mia Sannicandro, Ceara Perry, and Alyssa Souza, won first place for their challenge, creating a five minute improvisational skit focused on different communication techniques.
Representing Hopkinton Middle School, the 8th grade team of Heather Holly, Emma Griffiths, Elise Kiszla, Riley Strickland, and Erin Webb took home first place for their science challenge in which they explored how the science of wind energy can be used to make kinetic art move while integrating wind energy research into their performance.
The middle school 6th grade team of Aren Arakelian, Haley Bernardo, Sara Dunn, Neal Patel, Gigi Prabhakaran, Izzy Puri, and Patrick Webb, won first place in their Project Outreach: Real to Reel project. This team selected a community service project and chose Project Just Because as their focus. During the holiday season, they collected over 100 toys for needy children and raised over $800 for Project Just Because. They documented their project in a short film and participated in a live press conference. In addition to their win, they were also awarded a Destination Imagination DaVinci Award, the highest level of DI award, given to those having a unique approach to a solution, risk taking, and/or outstanding creativity. This team was also awarded with a Spirit of DI Award given in recognition of those who act as superior role models in the areas of spirit, sportsmanship, and volunteerism. It is extremely rare to win a DaVinci Award and even rarer to win both a DaVinci and a Spirit of DI Award.
The Destination Imagination State Championship Tournament will be held at WPI on March 30th. More information on DI can be found at www.madikids.org.