Yorkies in the News: Five Gr. 4s Competed at DI Global Finals in Knoxville, TN

Destination Imagination contest takes Vancouver students to Tennessee

By Matthew Robinson, The Vancouver Sun. Read the story here.

Gr. 4 Destination ImagiNation Team
Alicia, Kaari, Sarah, Amanda and Falcon make up the Vancouver team of Grade 4 girls now in Tennessee to compete in the 2014 Destination Imagination competition, where student teams solve open-ended challenges.
Photograph by: Ric Ernst, Vancouver Sun.

A quick-witted team of Vancouver students are in Knoxville, Tennessee, this week to compete against some of the world’s most innovative young problem solvers in the annual Destination Imagination Global Finals.

The five Grade 4 students from York House have been in the U.S. city since Monday, awaiting the first round of challenges designed to test their teamwork and creativity.

That shouldn’t be hard for the girls, said Petra Kaksonen, one of the team’s managers.

“I’m really quite amazed when you’re giving a nine-year-old a blank sheet of paper what they can come up with,” she said. “The creativity is amazing.”

During the four-day competition, an estimated 1,400 teams from 41 countries will perform short projects they developed and presented during earlier regional qualifying competitions.

Team member Vanessa said the girls selected the challenge “Laugh Out Loud” and they created a performance in a live comic strip format that includes a story, poem and a song.

Contacted the night before their presentation, Vanessa said she was really excited to present.

“We’re competing against lots of people,” she said. “We just want to do our best and have fun.”

Kaari Urbanek said the team’s props for the performance were mostly unharmed during the flight to Knoxville, but one prop broke in half and could not be fixed.

Undeterred, teammates Zoë and Sarah said the team was still ready.

“If there’s a small little mistake, we have to go on,” said Sarah.

But the girls won’t be judged on that performance alone. The team will also compete in a top-secret “instant challenge” that is designed to get the members drawing on their unique talents and skills and thinking on their feet. It is a test of real-time teamwork and problem solving, according to Destination Imagination, the non-profit group that organizes the competition.

Alicia said they had not yet practised for the instant challenge.

“Sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes it’s just scary because you don’t know what’s coming up,” she said.

Kaksonen said she was “extremely proud.

“There have been tears and disappointment, but lots of cheering and lots of coming together. It’s really heartwarming.”

See the story in The Vancouver Sun.

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