Five years after Lucerne Valley schools began their Destination Imagination journey, three local teams are heading to state competition with hopes of advancing to the global stage.
Three of four Lucerne Valley DI teams scored high enough at the recent regional competition Arcadia High School to qualify for the state tournament on April 6 in Clovis.
Lucerne Valley’s top scoring team at regionals was (DIDAR)2, a.k.a “Did R Squared,” which placed first in the Middle School Level Scientific Challenge “Medical Mystery.” The team has been together for five years and has gone to state every year. This year’s team is made up of 7th-graders Kylee Lambert, Wyatt Perry, Kevin Angeles, Evan Herriman and Emilia Daniels. Teacher Vickie Kessler has served as the team’s “manager” since the team’s inception.
“This team is pretty amazing,” Kessler said. “This team has been very strong with the scientific.”
During a recent Lucerne Valley Middle High School staff meeting, the DIDAR team ran through its entire DI challenge. Afterward, team member Wyatt Perry presented DIDAR’s first place trophy won at regionals to Principal Mr. Nate Lambdin. Mr. Lambdin said he would proudly display the trophy in the school’s front office. The school also put DIDAR’s accomplishment on its school sign.
During tournaments, teams are scored on three parts: Instant Challenge, which accounts for 25% of the score, Team Choice Elements (15%) and Central Challenge (60%).
Besides the veteran Middle School team, three teams from Lucerne Valley Elementary School competed in regionals. Imaginary Creatures 2.0H, which is managed by teacher Marina Chicca-Wilding, took second place in the Elementary Level Fine Arts Challenge “Game On.” The team consists of students Telina, Irvan, Alexis, Evelynn and Victoria.
LVES Booster Club President Sarah Courtney manages the third-place winners Flying Foxes, which performed the Elementary Level Scientific Challenge “Medical Mystery.” Flying Foxes team members are Colton, Maci, Jennaeve, Jonah and Kyleigh.
Parent Joei Miller, who serves as a board member on the LVES Booster Club, manages the DI Galaxy Explorers team, which had technical difficulties with their drone at regionals. The DI Galaxy Explorers consist of students Jonathan, Eileen, Faith, Evan and Alexia.
“I’m very proud of our teams,” said Ms. Chicca-Wilding, who serves as the LVES DI teams coordinator. “Colton (a Flying Foxes team member) said it was one of the most fun competitions he has ever done. He can’t wait for State.”
“We got to learn so much,” Colton said, “like sewing, acting, how to wrap a leg in a cast, and how to think fast.”
Destination Imagination, which was founded in 1999, seeks to engage participating students in project-based challenges designed to develop creativity, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills. DI encourages students to have fun exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts with hands-on, student-generated, problem-solving projects.
The DI Global Finals will be May 22-25 in Kansas City, Missouri. More than 8,000 DI students are expected to gather for the competition.
Peter Day currently is a social media advisor for the Lucerne Valley Unified School District.
The (DIDAR)2 team is excited for the possibilities at the state tournament next month. From left (back row), team manager Ms. Vickie Kessler, Emilia Daniels, Kevin Angeles, Evan Herriman and Wyatt Perry; (front row) Kylee Lambert.