Local students in Knoxville for Destination Imagination finals today

11 Pleasanton students taking part in 'problem-solving' global competition

Two teams of Pleasanton students are in Knoxville, Tenn. for three days at the 2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals -- one of the largest creative-thinking and problem-solving competitions in the world.

The Five Little Soldiers and Where's the Caffeine are among 1,400 teams attending Global Finals at the University of Tennessee.

"Our goal through Destination Imagination and Global Finals is to teach kids how to think, not what to think," said Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination Imagination, Inc. "We are in the imagination business, and we are teaching kids to open their eyes to the world and learn how to compete using their creativity and other 21st century skills."

Team members on The Five Little Soldiers include Mohr Elementary students Medha Garikipati, Saniya Vaidya and Isabelle Lo, and Fairlands Elementary students Mahika Sharma and Alexandria Lobao.

The team of fourth-graders advanced to the global finals by ranking second in DI's state competition on March 28 in Riverside.

The Five Little Soldiers are set to compete in the "Service Learning/Project Outreach" category at the competition -- where they are challenged to identify, design and carry out a project that addresses at least one community need.

The group has collected over 100 letters to send to active soldiers, donated 500 hygiene items to East Bay Stand Down for homeless veterans, participated in Pleasanton's Veteran's Day Parade, and collected over $500 for troops and their families.

The team is continuing to work on more projects to raise additional funds in support of troops and their families. Those interested in donating can visit The Five Little Soldiers' Go Fund Me page.

Hart Middle School students Aly Lam, Sydney Cohen, Holden Meyer, Aryan Sethi, Chiemeka Kalu and Vincent Hsu make up the team, "Where's the Caffeine."

Where's the Caffeine advanced to the global finals by placing first in the Riverside competition, competing in the "Fine Arts" category.

This challenge asks the team to present a team-created fairy tale about a character that faces and deals with a phobia. The team must also meet a variety of required elements for this challenge.

Where's the Caffeine created a fairy tale with Robin Hood as the main character, who has a fear of change.

The Fine Arts and Service Learning/Project Outreach categories are two of seven open-ended challenges that require teams to apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), in addition to improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork and community service.

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7 people like this
Posted by Steven Laine
a resident of Old Towne
on May 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

This is an amazing accomplishment for these young students. My kids participated in Destination Imagination from 3rd grade all the way through high school. This excellent program teaches the kids how to work together in a team, bring their best skills and effort to a team, to brainstorm, to use power tools, how to work on challenges that take considerable time, creativity and experimentation to get a great result. All the skills you need in real life.
This is the type of program I love seeing getting attention in the press. Thsanks, PW!

1 person likes this
Posted by Dipti
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 19, 2015 at 10:29 am

In addition to above 2 teams , we have an additional team that made it to the finals. This team hs kids from Fairlands & Alisal. Some 3rd graders & some kids are in the 4th grade.

2 people like this
Posted by Ajay Dhillon
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

This program has been around for a few years. My son was in it from 3rd grade to HS. Thanks to a wonderful team Mom and manager Liz Flores who devoted so much of her time that his team won so many prizes at Globals every year. her house would be converted into one big worshop for the 4-5 months it would take to prepare for the finals. Liz still devotes so much of her time to this program. Many thanks to her.

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