Four Gr. 5 Girls Win Top Honours at the World’s Largest Celebration of Creativity

Team manager Raul Sanchez Inglis pictured here with Team “True or False”: Sophie F., Zoe P., Bianca G. and Sophie B.
Team manager Raul Sanchez Inglis pictured here with Team “True or False”: Sophie F., Zoe P., Bianca G. and Sophie B.

A team of four Grade 5 York House girls (Sophie F., Zoe P., Bianca G. and Sophie B.), who call themselves Team “True or False”, has claimed a top spot in the Destination Imagination Global Finals held from May 20th to May 23rd in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were the only elementary school team in Canada to place in the top three of this international competition.

Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners and utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills such as critical thinking and creativity. The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners 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.

Destination Imagination culminates at the Global Finals each year with thousands of students from kindergarten through to University participating. A fierce competition, this year 1,468 teams from 17 countries (seven Canadian provinces) representing over 8,000 students performed short projects they developed and presented during earlier regional qualifying competitions. Teams also competed 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.

Teams of students from York House School have participated numerous times since 2000. Four teams from York House School joined this year’s competition – one from the Senior School and three from the Junior School. Reaching the Global Finals requires hard work and commitment from everyone involved. Each team has to first qualify regionally and then provincially and only 8-10% of teams that enter the competition make it to the Global Finals.

Three of the girls had participated in the Global Finals in previous years but this was the first time they have come together as a team. A testament to their synergy as a team, “True or False” placed third out of 64 teams in this year’s Global Finals. An added coup, they were also awarded the prestigious Renaissance Award which recognizes those who demonstrate extraordinary amounts of effort and preparation in their solutions or outstanding skill in engineering, design or performance.

The girls created and performed a “Feary Tale” for their team challenge (which is essentially a fairy tale of their making) that addressed a phobia of their choice. The girls swiftly settled on “pediophobia” (a fear of dolls) and created a complex story about a girl with a crushing fear of dolls who lives in a steampunk realm.

This challenge posed the perfect opportunity to harness each of the girl’s individual talents. One of the girls with a passion and talent for writing wrote the script and song. Another with a talent and passion for dance and movement choreographed all the doll moves. Another designed and devised a wonderful illusion where the creepy doll hauntingly lifts and moves a box through the air, without using her hands, to terrorize the girl (creating an illusion is a required element). Another created an illustrative thought bubble that used graphic art to express the girl’s fear of dolls equating death, toxicity and horror.

Team manager and parent Anna Galvin commented on the positive impacts of the whole experience on the girls, “It was fascinating to watch the team prosper and garner skills and confidence along the way. The insistence on autonomy fuelled their passion and desire to learn. Their enthusiasm never flagged. They were never bored or listless. Their focus strengthened as they mastered skills and saw their ideas come to life. It was frustrating when something failed but they learned that failure often creates opportunities to stretch your imagination to come up with alternative solutions.”

Congratulations “True or False”, we are sure you are going to continue to surprise and excite us!

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