Destination Imagination 2014-2015 Wraps Up in a Big Way!

WOW! WOW! WOW! Our River Eves students have completed one phenomenal 2014-2015 Destination Imagination season. Parents, you should be so proud, and we're so happy that your children could participate! Thank you for getting them involved!

This year was our school's second year participating in the program. This is the first year the decision was made to confidently hand team managerial honors over to parents and community members of River Eves. First and foremost, I want to honor the Team Managers that volunteered their time with our teams on the two challenges (Creature Feature and Animal Mish Mash)*:
Ms. Mandi Moragne for the Roswell Raiders (4-5th )

Ms. Angela Erlich for the River Eves Engineers (3rd-5th)

Ms. Stephanie Usher for the River Eves Chargers (K-1st)

Ms. Crystal Tanaghoe for the River Eves Safari Rangers (K-1st)

Since December, managers led their teams on a path to conquer science-based challenges, all with fresh perspectives and support from school staff and administration. Incorporating team building exercises, instant challenges, and on-going challenge solutions, script writing, and set building, the task was very involved and not always easy. All components required research and collaboration from managers and team members. A unique characteristic of Destination Imagination is that students, regardless of age, may be guided toward research and challenge solutions, but adults (parents, managers, teachers, etc.) are not allowed to contribute input or answers within the challenge. This task alone makes the job of Team Manager extremely challenging.

Team Managers and team members** met this challenge, among all the others, beautifully. At the Georgia DI Affiliate Tournament on Saturday, March 28, 2015, our students performed and displayed their culmination of hard work among other students from all over the state.
At the tournament that was held from 9:00 to 3:30 at Duluth High School in Gwinnett County, Pre-K to college-aged students gathered for DI. Each team came with props, sets, scripts, and motivation to present their final challenge solution. On top of that, each team participated in an Instant Challenge. Instant Challenges are still a secret to the public. Students and Team Managers took an oath to not discuss the challenge or solutions until the culmination of Global Finals in May. The Instant Challenges were appraised, and the resulting scores were figured in the final team scores. In between the Instant Challenge and the Final Challenge solution performance, students had a chance to relax and play in the activity center. Here, they had access to large drawing pads, Keva Planks construction area, a pin walk, and a demonstration from Vizitech USA. The River Eves students really enjoyed a chance to show off their artistic skills and bragging rights, building crowd-attracting Keva towers, and getting virtually lost in 3D digital manipulation at the high-tech Vizitech booth. Even on a Saturday, it was evident that some outlets were attractive to the students, and it wasn't food. Some were too engaged to be bothered to eat... until later!

 At the end of tournament day, not only were four teams wonderfully representing River Eves, but our teams received these various awards:

The Roswell Raiders won 3rd Place in the Elementary Level Creature Feature Challenge and the Renaissance Award for engineering, design, execution, and performance in the Team Challenge.

The River Eves Engineers was awarded Honorable Mentioned in the Elementary Level Creature Feature Challenge

The River Eves Chargers (a Rising Stars team in the non-competitive portion of DI) was awarded the Spirit of DI Award for outstanding spirit, teamwork, volunteerism, and sportsmanship.

It was a lovely day spent with the teams and their families and seeing them so proud of their work and performance. In addition to team managers, we must also recognize the team assistants, especially those that served as appraisers. 
Ms. Renee Vastis
Ms. Kristin Holland
Ms. Gloria Fazzolari
Ms. Heather Blank

Lastly, thanks to our supporting administrators, Mr. Pinnock and Mr. Donahoe. Without your ardent belief in the program and the ability of our kids, this program would've never been successfully implemented at River Eves. Thank you, and Mr. Pinnock, thank you for being at the Closing Ceremony to congratulate the teams on the fruits of their labor!

Clicking the icon below will direct you to all of the photographs from the day's events. If you have additional images you'd like added to this page or the Dropbox, please feel free to email me, Felicia, at

*Description of challenges: 
Creature Feature - The technical challenge. "The world is yours. The choice is yours. Take action! Find your creature and begin the great adventure! Points of interest: 
1. Build a creature that uses technical methods to perform team-chosen actions.
2. Present a story of adventure with the creature as a character.
3. Use techical methods to demonstrate features of a world where the story is set.
4. Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team's interest, skills, areas of strength, and talents."

Animal Mish Mash -  The early learning/Rising Stars Challenge. "With a little bit of this and a littel bit of that, you'll mix together two animals and give it the perfect new habitat! Doesn't it sound like a ROAR-ing good time? Points of interest:
1. Learn about animal characteristics and their habitats -- the home and area in which they live.
2. Design a new animal and its new habitat.
3. Construct the animal and its new habitat in 3D, including moving parts on both.
4. Create a play about the movements your new animal makes and adjustments your new animals makes in its new habitat.
5. Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team's interest, skills, areas of strengths, and talents.

** Team members of the 2014-2015 season in no particular order:
Dawson Moragne, Costas Vastis, Nyla Jones, Harrison Goldstein, Desttiny Veloz-Chivirrea, Emily Carnes, Hannah Erlich, Jeffrey Holland, Joseph Ramirez, Rebecca Ocampo, Matthew Wright, Georgia James, Nelson Pinnock, Griffin Lane, Austin Simotics, Justin Samaan, Luke Welch, Amelie Lacson, Grayson Helms, Arianna Frye, Jackson Tanaghoe, Noah Wiskind, Rafe Naggiar, Jack Fazzolari, Ben Shaene, Johah Blank, Kayden Cheng

Welcome to the 2014 season of Destination Imagination!  We are so happy for you and your child, and we are thrilled that our very own Centennial Cluster has made it possible for River Eves' students to participate in such an exciting program. It is my pleasure to welcome my team members: Gabriela, Dylan, Benji, Adia, Martha, Sofia, and Lancey. Please visit this page often for updates on pictures, upcoming events, and requests for parents. As a Team Manager, I am looking forward to seeing the ingenuity of these students. What I've seen so far at the informational meeting and at Instant Challenge Day indicates that we will have great team members, and I am eager to see them begin their journey toward the March tournament. If you have any questions for me, please email me at any time. I foresee a lot of communication back and forth with you all. I am hoping that by providing a website, you can stay more informed and up to speed on what our teams are currently doing.
Thursday, January 9 - Destination Imagination Informational Meeting
What an opener!  While we started off a little bit dry, and all (including myself) still quite unsure about exactly what Destination Imagination was, I think the night was a success! The first opportunity to compete in an Instant Challenge was just what our kids needed.  Most impressive, however, were the parents jumping right in and enthusiastically taking part in the challenges as well. I must tell you, the students were talking about that part of the night more than any other part. I'm glad we were able to meet and give you information about the program. I think many of you began to see the benefits for the students, not only in their current academics, but just how much it can help them in the future.  DI has the potential to grow creative thinkers now and ideal employees in the distant future.

Friday, January 10 - Brief Meeting with Students
Jessica and I pulled the students from their classes just so they could all meet each other, so we could meet them, and welcome them to DI. We used this time to take a brief skills and interest survey, and we found that our teams are very well-rounded with just the right mix of creative students, writers, builders, and performers. This is the recipe for successful teams of 3rd and 4th grade DI members.

Saturday, January 11 - Instant Challenge Day
Instant Challenge Day offered our REES team members a chance to finally work in a variety of Instant Challenges. Not all of our members were able to attend this optional event, but we were happy to act as managers for five of them. This resulted in a great size team. Members from both REES teams joined as one, and really made an impression on DI appraisers at the event. Sure, we need much more practice, but this was the first time any of our students had done challenges together. Jessica and I were floored by how the level of creativity increased from challenge to challenge. The hours went by quickly as we completed seven instant challenges. Jessica and I were able to snap a couple of shots of the kids in action. It's great to already see obvious strengths that the students have. I think they even surprised themselves at what great improvisers and actors some of them are!

Wednesday, January 15 - Challenges Accepted
We did it! We have had a successful first practice. We began with a Two Truths and a Lie ice breaker so that team members could get to know each other. As with every practice, we had an Instant Challenge. The kids were definitely entertained and entertaining. The next part, choosing the challenge, was crucial. I am happy to report that both Mrs. Vu's team and my team have chosen their challenges!  Ms. Vu's team is going to complete a Scientific Challenge - Going to Extremes; and Mrs. MacFarland's team is going to complete a Technical Challenge - Dig In.

We would love your help, but we can only accept certain kinds of help. Students are coming home with a list of supplies that could help our Instant Challenges.We hope that none of these items are too difficult or expensive to get. Anything you can provide will be appreciated. Snacks for your child or your child's team are also welcome.

Anyone that is not on the child's Destination Imagination team, we are emphasizing that you cannot contribute IDEAS to the students. Any contribution of ideas will have to be thrown out and not be a consideration. Please honor this rule, because the risk for team disqualification does exist. You CAN lead them to research and guide them in a way where they come up with their own answers. In addition to completing an Instant Challenge at each practice, we will make available videos of past DI tournament performances. We encourage kids to note what they see and what they can they think can inspire their final production.

We meet again tomorrow. Please remember that students should be picked up BY 4pm. 

Thursday, January 16 - Full Speed Ahead
Today, we finally organized as two separate teams. We continue to practice Instant Challenges together and have the teams appraise each other to learn the process and how to earn the maximum number of points, but we are holding practices in two separate rooms. As of now, the students are sworn to secrecy!! 
 Click on the image to preview the Challenges

Team Undefeated Golden Eagles (Mrs. MacFarland's team) Update... 
Our team had a great brainstorming day where we may have started building the foundation for our story for their challenge called Dig In. That's all I should share at this point. You may see less and less shares about practices, but we will update you on events and any important notices.
 Click on the image to preview the Challenges
Click on the image to preview the Challenges

Team Roswell Raiders (Mrs. Vu's team) Update...
Roswell Raiders are Going to Extremes! Each member of the Roswell Raiders brings a diverse skillset that is sure to help our team imagine and create a successful solution to our scientific challenge.  We are in the beginning stages of researching extreme environmental conditions that exist in the world so we can move forward with creating technical gear needed to survive in our chosen environment. The students are excited to begin researching.  I’ve overheard  comments like, “I feel like we are in TAG!” or “This is so much fun!”  I love their enthusiasm and eagerness to dive into their challenge. 

A big thank you goes to Adia's mom, Ms. Shauna, for providing snacks and water today. It was much appreciated and just the fuel the kids needed to get their creativity going. I hope you all have a great weekend. Remember, the kids are bubbling over with ideas, remind them not to give anything away as I remind the parents... NO IDEAS!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - Note to Parents
Destination Imagination published Tips for Parents. I thought the official verbiage would be helpful.
Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit that helps kids around the world discover their creativity. Our Challenge program invites student teams to solve open-ended Challenges and bring their solutions to a tournament.

Here are some tips to consider if your child is in the program:

  1. Be aware of Interference. Destination Imagination teaches the creative process by allowing kids to solve Challenges together as a team. A big part of our program is the Interference policy: in short, kids have to imagine, create and develop solutions on their own. Parents, Team Managers, family and friends can’t suggest ideas or force teams in certain directions. It’s very important for the kids to do their own research and get their hands dirty. Outsiders can only facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge. For example, if the team needs to learn carpentry, a parent might contact a local contractor to teach the kids, or teach them himself. This must be teaching of general skills only. It is up to the kids to take these general carpentry skills and use them as they see fit in their Challenge solution. 
  2. Be patientDestination Imagination is Challenge based and process based. It also helps kids make friends and learn to work together. This means that a team will take a unique path to a unique solution. It will take time, and the kids may experience conflict along the way. The key is helping the kids to process the experience as they go. Give them an avenue to discuss opinions and vent frustrations together. 
  3. Learn about the program.There are many moving parts to the Destination Imagination program. You can learn a lot about the program by reviewing our Program Materials, which are included with the purchase of a Team Number. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You can call headquarters toll free at 888.321.1503, or write an email to
Wednesday, January 22 - Programming Note
It dawned on me that parents and teachers may be interested to see the type of Instant Challenges we do each week. There are no rules to sharing and practicing these with parents at home or with classmates at school. They are very different from our final challenge. Each week, I'll repost this icon which will take followers to a Google Docs folder that holds our latest Instant Challenges.
 Take me to the Instant Challenges!

Wednesday, January 22 - Diving In
Each week, Destination Imagination Practice begins with a Team Building exercise. Today's was a ton of fun. Each team had to pass a hula hoop over their whole team... while holding hands. Destination Imagination is focused on teamwork and collaboration, and it's just awesome to introduce different activities that cultivate these things each week. I'm pretty sure the kids loved it.

Team Undefeated Golden Eagles have a pretty creative storyline developing for their challenge, complete with the roles that they will play and the props they want to use. Tomorrow, we will hone in on the technical piece of their challenge. They're having so much fun with the skit, but as manager, I can't let the purpose of the challenge get lost.

Team Roswell Raiders had a productive research day, and I think they have chosen their extreme environment. I'm posting for Mrs. Vu tonight. I must say, I've heard their extreme environment, and I cannot wait to hear how this team will attack this challenge! 

I also wanted to share that each team got a special visitor today - Mr. Pinnock! He worked alongside other administrators in the cluster to bring this to our students, and I can see his enthusiasm, especially as it provides students with a creative outlet and STEM-based practices. I have a feeling seeing and hearing the students in practice today solidified for him that Destination Imagination is just what REES needs and that just the right students are participating! He also let our participants know that he'd visited the blog and had seen their photographs. I also know that Sofia shared the blog with her teacher, Mrs. Pittman, and her 3rd grade class. If they're still some sharing happening, here are more photos from today's team building exercise and practice session.

Wednesday, February 5 - Back in the Swing of Things
We all had a pretty adventurous week last week. I will say that I'm thrilled to not see any signs of snow and ice this week. I've had my fill for a while. Plus, due to the weather event, we missed two practices, and Mrs. Vu and I missed seeing our teams! This week, we are ready to hit the ground running as our DI events are fast-approaching. I've emailed you all, and tonight, your children will be coming home with a reminder as well. In case you missed it, our message is below. We look forward to seeing all of you parents on Thursday (if you pick up, of course!).

When: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 4:00 – 4:10pm
Where: River Eves Foyer
Why: Discuss upcoming Destination Imagination events

Please make plans to enter the school and stay for about 10 minutes at pickup on Thursday.  We have a few quick announcements to go over, and this will be a great opportunity for you to all ask questions.  We will do our very best to answer them for you.  Our topics are as follows.

  • Makeup for last week's meetings
  • Regional showcase - Feb 22
  • Appraiser signup and training
  • The Big Regional Tournament - March 15
  • Items, donations, and snacks
  • Transportation to and from events

Tuesday, March 4 - Regional Showcase Highlights

On February 22, River Eves' own Roswell Raiders participated in the Regional Showcase at Sharon Elementary. After many missed practices due to inclement weather and a late start compared to most area teams, the Raider came to show their best work, and that they did! 

Just look at the awesome gift that Dawson's mom, Mandy gave the performing team. DI releases new pins each year!
While The Undefeated Golden Eagles did not perform at the showcase, some of the team members came to cheer on their school team and to observe the lay of the land of the participating Technical teams. Those team members that came to observe reported back to their team, and they have been continuing their work ever since.

We want to give a "ginormous" thanks to Mandy, Dawson's mom, who trained all morning to be an appraiser for DI and then appraised challenges the rest of the afternoon. Also, I want to thanks Gabby's parents and Adia's parents for the snacks you provided for the kids. 

Below is the video of the Raiders' well-appraised, successful, and very well-planned skit. Congrats to them and Ms. Vu. Great job!  Just know, that The Undefeated Golden Eagles are very close to show time as well. ;)

Thursday, March 14 - It's about That Time!
Hi parents! This is Felicia, so this is mostly an Undefeated Golden Eagles update. We are in the home stretch!!! The UGE still has quite a bit to do, but they have put in a lot of hours this week. Both teams still have one more day to practice, and then it's TOURNAMENT TIME!  Here is the schedule for the next few days and some announcements.

Friday - Last practice meeting from 2:30 - 5pm.

Saturday -  Tournament Day - Please have UGE arrive at 9:45 for set up and practice opportunity. The earliest students can leave is after our instant challenge (So, please plan for 9:45 - 1:45ish)

Duluth High School
3737 Brock Rd NW
Duluth, GA 30096

Undefeated Golden Eagles' Team Challenge 
(Culminating performance in front of audience)
Time: 10:55
Location within Duluth HS: Old Gym

Undefeated Golden Eagles' Instant Challenge 
(Final instant challenge performed in front of appraisers only)
Time: 12:55

Other Announcements:
  • A last minute request. Each team is required to bring a Cake for an event at DI called the Cake Walk. I was going to purchase one, but I wanted to ask if any of the parents are creative and if you are an avid baker or cake decorator. If you are, and are willing, I'm asking for a volunteer parent to bake and decorate a DI-themed cake. If I don't get a response by Friday afternoon, I'll just purchase one.
  • We will have a special guest at the Tournament. Mr. Pinnock is making arrangements to be at Duluth HS to see our kids and their progress.
  • In addition to coming to the tournament, he is looking at our allocated budget. There is a chance that we will be able to continue DI beyond Saturday's tournament. An update will be delivered sometime next week.
As always, my phone number is 251.455.0616. If you have any questions about Saturday, please let me know. Click here for the link for Saturday's Tournament Program. The program is called Tournament Program  2014.

Saturday, March 15 - What a blast was had at GADI Affiliate Tournament
And just like that, it's over. Not the fun, and not the memory-making, but the big day itself. This is the day that the students, Mrs.Vu, and I have been preparing for, especially pushing hard these past two weeks. It was a wonderful environment for our students today. Parents, fellow schoolmates, and Mr. Pinnock really came through for both River Eves' teams at the incredibly beautiful Duluth High School. Parents, thank you for all of your support and hanging out with me. We have been communicating through email and in the carpool line throughout this process. At least for me, it was nice to actually talk to you and celebrate your children. Both teams did great! The Undefeated Golden Eagles had a great start, and from the appraisers' notes, they loved a lot of the components of our skit. It's too bad that for the time-being, no one has seen our awesome ending due to "technical issues."  In a technical challenge, that is. Go figure! With any luck, we can rectify that either through a Centennial Cluster tournament or if I simply video a run of their whole skit. Thank you, Roswell Raiders, for being in our audience. Their team sailed through their skit, and got a couple of laughs from the audience. I was happy our team could be present to cheer them on and record their performance. Videos of both will be posted soon, so look for an update.

At the end of the day, River Eves' teams got to participate for the first time in Destination Imagination; we braved a stage in front of kids and adults - both familiar and strangers; and we even won a fabulous cake in the cake walk. I hope the students really get a grasp of the fact that Georgia is a big state with many, many students. There were a few schools that began this process with us, that were present at that first parent meeting, that did not attend the Tournament. I will have be sure to tell our teams that. Today, the kids were not just Mrs. Vu's team and Mrs. MacFarland's team, they represented a small handful of very intelligent and talented students from the entire state. They also represented River Eves. They were all positive and well-behaved. We had zero issues of any kind today, and I think we have some bonds formed. Thanks again, to everyone involved. Enjoy the photos I took. If you took any and you want to share, send them my way. I'm sure if Mrs.Vu took any, she will share hers as well. Remember, also, that videos are coming soon! For your convenience, click on the link below to get all photos from Dropbox.

Special thanks goes to Sophia's mom, Vicky, and Dawson's mom, Mandy, for being our teams' appraisers. They had big jobs at the Tournament. Vicky also made team t-shirts for the Undefeated Golden Eagles! They looked great, Ms. Vicky. I'm sure the students will cherish them. Mr. Gavi, Gabby's dad, thank you for transporting and storing our backdrop and props! We couldn't do this without parental support. I thank all of you!

Enjoy your weekend!

Ms. Vicky, Sophia's mom, must have spent so much time tie-dying these shirts for the Undefeated Golden Eagles team. Look at how much talent and personalization when into these shirts! I love that the kids' names are on them. They loved them. Thank you, Ms. Vicky!!
The Roswell Raiders also got to sport team shirts. They sure do look sharp, don't they?!  Thank you, Nyla's mom!!

Eliseo, Gabby's little brother won us a cake in the cake walk. Lucky boy! It was a gorgeous cake and super delicious!

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