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Valley Team Returns Champions

Destination Imagination – Beijing, China – 2013

Destination Imagination Team Comox Valley Back L to R ~ Brendan Russell, Ethan Glenwright, Jacob Fussell, Matthew Black Front L to R ~ Hannah Arthurs, Samm Merrick, Kristen Bystrom All seven are students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary

Destination Imagination Team Comox Valley
Back L to R ~ Brendan Russell, Ethan Glenwright, Jacob Fussell, Matthew Black
Front L to R ~ Hannah Arthurs, Samm Merrick, Kristen Bystrom
All seven are students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary

A team of seven students from the Comox Valley representing Canada at the Beijing Invitational Tournament for Destination Imagination returned from China as champions. The team joined 39 other teams competing in the National Geographic Extreme DI Challenge at the showcase tournament where the world’s best were invited. “The Canada team was outstanding and we are very grateful they could come to China,” said Mr. Xiao Li, CEO of Destination Imagination China as he recognized their efforts at the awards event.

All week long the seven students had a serious taste of celebrity. Their trip began in Shanghai where they stayed at the Maple Leaf School of Shanghai and provided workshops for the Chinese students on Destination Imagination, a program that teaches critical thinking, creative thinking, innovation, collaboration, and communication, “the very skills students need to be ready for the demands of the modern world,” said Superintendent of Schools Sherry Elwood.  More than 200,000 students are involved in Destination Imagination in 31 countries. At the school the students were treated with excitement, curiosity and admiration. Whenever they went into the public, people would go out of their way to get pictures of and with the students. The cultural connections they made with the students at the Maple Leaf School were a highlight for Hannah Arthurs, Matthew Black, Kristen Bystrom, Jacob Fussell, Ethan Glenwright, Samm Merrick, and Brendan Russell, the seven students comprising the team.

DI Team touring Beijing

DI Team touring Beijing

When the team arrived in Beijing they were met with a non-stop barrage of picture takers, well-wishers, and those who just wanted to be close to them. This became particularly problematic while they were working on their challenge, but security was able to help create some space to allow them to work in public demonstrating their process and world class team work. They had 24 hours to design a camera system and to prepare a presentation that showed how the rare Clouded Leopard behaves when humans are not present. The students needed to take a picture of the characterized Leopard remotely while minimizing the impact on the environment and the animal. The team was given a prescribed amount of money they could spend if needed: they spent none. All action in the presentation hall stopped – a rare occurrence in this venue – when the Comox Valley Team presented. The Canadian team finished second in this challenge behind a team from Virginia with 13 years of experience and ahead of a team from Poland. The three teams were very close on points and demonstrated the high calibre of international teams for the Chinese media and education officials, one of the goals of the showcase.

Morning Tai-Chi

Morning Tai-Chi

Throughout the tournament the team was kind, generous with their time and space, helped other teams, and represented what is great about Canadians very well. “We couldn’t ask for better ambassadors for our country,” said Faith Garriock, Affiliate Director for Destination Imagination British Columbia. “By all accounts the students from the Comox Valley embodied the spirit of DI and showed the world what Canada is all about. We can all be very proud of them.”

 

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