On May 24, 2017, a group of Seattle Country Day School (SCDS) students will join more than 1,400 Destination Imagination (DI) teams from over 15 countries in Knoxville, Tennessee for a global tournament of creativity and skill.
SCDS's 4th grade DI team, the Radioactive Lightbulbs, started meeting weekly in late September and did well at regionals (held in March) to qualify for the state tournament in April. They now find themselves less than a week away from the DI Global Finals. "Their teamwork was a little rocky at the beginning of the DI season, but after doing team-building exercises and playing group focused games for a few months, they have really gelled as a team," their coach and current SCDS parent Winston Yeung said. "Most of all, they have a lot of fun with [one another], and that comes across when they are working together to solve the [rigorous] DI challenges." The team consists of Alaire Dandel, AJ Hwangbo, Esme Lichong, Mian Oliver, Finn Swanson, Zoe Weingeist, and Kimberly Yeung.
Destination Imagination inspires and equips students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Every year, new challenges are offered in: STEM, fine arts, and service learning. These challenges offer the opportunity to experience the creative process from imagination to innovation while fostering creativity, courage, and curiosity. Those three words, creativity, courage, and curiosity blend incredibly well with SCDS's mission to inspire gifted children to reach their potential through inquiry, curiosity, and wonder. "The education [these students have gained] at SCDS has played a huge role in their success in DI. They have been presenting to their classmates since kindergarten and you can see their comfort in front of a crowd and ability to project their voices," current SCDS parent Michele Weingeist explained. "SCDS has helped these kids become creative problem solvers who are willing to take risks to find solutions to [any] challenge."
Making it to the Global Finals was the team's ultimate goal and, while they will work hard to give their best presentation, the team is ready to have fun and enjoy the fruits of their labor. When reflecting upon their journey together, team members had some profound things to say: "Don't be super competitive, make sure you have fun with your team!"; "We like to brainstorm all kinds of creative solutions and then boil it down to the best one." and "We know how to listen to each other's ideas because of DI."
"SCDS kids are given considerable responsibility for their own intellectual challenges so the DI format is a seamless transition for them," SCDS parent Kate Dandel said. "The inquiry based approach is what DI is all about. The program is child-driven; the kids determine the problem, the solution and are even responsible for their costumes, technical creations, and carrying their own props. If the judges see a parent helping out, the team will suffer a deduction!"
While the Radioactive Lightbulbs make final preparations to head to Knoxville, they have a huge community back in the SCDS school house cheering them on and proud of all they have accomplished thus far!