An Oakwood team competed in the Destination Imagination Globals in Knoxville, Tenn. over the weekend and had a chance to meet a buddy team from Pakistan. What transpired was a lesson in sportsmanship and goodwill.
The DI program is based on students working in teams to solve challenges. Team members choose a central team challenge to solve, designed to be a long-term effort.
These team challenges often fall into the same interest categories (science, technical, engineering, service learning, fine arts, improvisation, etc.) each year, but the actual details of the challenge change.
Frequently, students are encouraged to incorporate technical, engineering, and artistic methods to enhance the effectiveness of their solution.
At the competition, the team of young boys from Pakistan had a glitch in their technology and they spent almost all of their allotted 8 minutes for their presentation trying to fix it.
“They were then stopped at their time limit and essentially unable to present their solution. They were crushed. The Oakwood managers and team, who were there to support their buddy team, came to the rescue by taking all of their props and setting them up in a nearby hallway space and gathering an audience to watch them try again,” explained Traci Hale, community relations director, for the school district.
She added that the Pakistan team performed their whole skit for a large, supportive crowd.
“Lots of tears were turned to smiles when they were able to share their hard work with people after traveling so far,” Hale said.
Members of the Oakwood DI team, The Spotlight 6, had a top 10 finish at the competition.
The fifth-grade team from Harman School placed sixth overall in the international competition in the Elementary Level Fine Arts category. They also achieved the highest score in the central challenge, although this category is not recognized on its own.
Members of the team are: Henry Almoney, Claire Cezeaux, Deirdre Lynch, Charlotte Powell, William Usechak and Ben Wittmer. The team’s managers are Mackenzie Wittmer and Jennifer Almoney.
After the competition, the Pakistani students that Oakwood assisted at the competition and their families came to Oakwood for a visit, touring Harman School, playing on the playground and visiting Hawthorne Hill before heading to Niagara Falls.
This year, nearly 190 Oakwood students in kindergarten through ninth grade participated in Oakwood DI. Ellie Duwel has competed in DI for five years.
“DI has shaped me into who I am today in many ways. DI has made me a better leader, more organized and has taught me to think outside the box. I’ve also become very close with my team and managers over the past few years. We’ve created our own little DI family,” Duwel said.
Elizabeth Uptegrove is one of the coordinators for Oakwood DI. She says teamwork is key to being successful.
“Success in the team challenge and the instant challenge are highly dependent on the team’s ability to collaborate productively, manage the timing and divisibility of work, call on everyone’s individual strengths to fuel joint creativity, and communicate their ideas effectively,” Uptegrove said.
All teams present their solutions at the Regional tournament in March. Regional winners progress to the State tournament. State winners are eligible to attend the Global Finals tournament at the University of Tennessee in May.