Secondary students from the Comox Valley competed at the Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals May 26 with more than 1,400 other teams and took home impressive results putting the Comox Valley on the map among other leading world cities in educational excellence.
Representing British Columbia in Knoxville, Tennessee was Team Chance from G.P Vanier Secondary and Team Palfunction from Highland Secondary.
Competing in the Engineering Challenge, Team Palfunction participated in Drop Zone against 67 top scoring teams finishing with an impressive 11th place in the world. This is no small feat when up against leading countries in engineering studies including China, Singapore, Korea, European nations and the United States.
But it was Team Chance, made up of only Grade 9 students that garnered a first-place finish that no other Canadian school has done before. Competing in the Improv Challenge called Treasure against 78 other teams composed of kids in higher grades, these young Vanier students finished first in their division. Team Chance went on to capture the first-place title overall beating teams from across the United States, Asia, Europe, and Central America, and gave Canada its best finish to date.
"It is truly a remarkable accomplishment by exceptional individuals, united towards a common goal,” shared Greg Kochanuk, Vanier Vice-Principal, team manager and long-time supporter of DI. "Both teams displayed exemplary sportsmanship and compassion as they encouraged and supported each other and whoever they met. It was an inspiring display of teamwork, problem solving, and creativity while they maintained being excellent ambassadors of Canada, our beautiful Comox Valley, and their families throughout the competition."
DI involves a variety of challenges in several categories based on project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). Challenges are created to provide the student teams with an opportunity to stretch their creativity, learn to collaborate, practice critical thinking skills, and develop communication skills. It is the world's foremost non-profit event dedicated to providing today's learners with the tools necessary to succeed in school and beyond.
Members of Team Chance include Aili Forrest, Miranda Mail, Sophia Irving, Sienna Stephens, Ethan Petty, Nicholas Tarrant, and Brooke O'Toole.
Team Palfunction includes Tristan Braidwood, Mathew Curtis, Kate Fullerton, and William Munro. Three other members that were part of their Provincial Championship Team but unable to attend the global competition include Teyia Legere, Miranda Hatch, and Mitchell Mansfield.
DI teams are managed by an adult parent or educator to help guide and support their process and aid with fund raising efforts to allow students to travel to regional, provincial and world competitions.
In addition to Kochanuk’s management, Team Chance was supported this year by fellow Vanier student Josh Langhorn, and for their run to the Global Finals they enlisted the support of Vanier’s performing arts teacher, Lori Mazey. Team Palfunction was under the guidance of Highland teacher Tara Colborne and Dan Braidwood, a parent and educator.
Throughout the Valley, district schools rely on many parent volunteers who give countless hours to support DI training and competitions. Without their level of dedication and commitment, DI teams competing this school year would not be able to achieve such high levels of success.
Citing the valuable learning DI offers, in each of the past eight years the Board of Education has helped support teams from across the district to participate at local, regional, provincial and global levels.