Tahoma High team has mastered competition in problem-solving

No problems, just solutions

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2008 5:20pm
  • News
Melinda Gonzales

Melinda Gonzales

No problems, just solutions

Tahoma High School’s Destination ImagiNation team continued its dominance in problem-solving competitions at the Seattle Metro and Washington state tournaments this past month, placing first at both.

The team also received a DaVinci Award, the most prestigious award in the DI program. It was awarded to Tahoma for creative engineering and for successful risk-taking.

Because of their successes, the Tahoma students are now headed to the third and last tournament of this season – the Global Finals 2008 tournament in Knoxville, Tenn. in late-May. This will be their third successive trip to Globals, something not accomplished by any previous Tahoma team in the 20 years that Tahoma has participated in this program.

The Tahoma team chose the challenge called Obstacles, Of Course!, which required that they run a team-built vehicle through an obstacle course – also of their own construction – while simultaneously performing a non-verbal skit that tied into the theme of the obstacle course. Their five-inch by seven-inch by 12-inch remote-controlled vehicle was able to overcome walls, a gap and a beam and even climb a rope.

The background for their skit was a six-foot by six-foot comic book and their super heroes, red and white blood cells, who battled the common cold and malaria. An eight-foot-long mosquito and team member Kenny Smith, wearing a traditional nurse’s uniform, punctuated their humorous performance.

The team of six sophomores and one junior are Eric Nucci, Kyle Zemek, Smith, Tucker Murrey, Wiley Duerson, Emily Wittman and Melinda Gonzales. Their managers are Dyann McVay and Jolynne Nucci.

Two Tahoma teams competed at the Seattle Metro tournament on March 1. The second team, from Russell Ridge Center, competed in a challenge called “DI’ve Got A Secret.” The challenge involved creating a skit that included an optical illusion, recombining set pieces, a masquerade character and a secret. The team worked for many months preparing their jungle-theme set, complete with origami vines and flowers, and a secret message that was revealed by colored filters as the set pieces were recombined.

The Russell Ridge Center team won second place and earned many laughs from the audience for their unique characters and humorous performance. They are a team of fifth through 10th-graders – George Clement, Hannah Fiskum, Joe Hanrahan, Justin Miller, Emily Miller and Van Wolfe. Their manager is Dion Valdez.

Destination ImagiNation is the largest worldwide, creative problem-solving program (for teams of two to seven participants) in preschool through college. The emphasis in DI is on the “process,” the learning that takes place all year as the teams prepare their challenge solutions.

Those involved with Destination ImagiNation discover that creative solutions come from teamwork, cooperation, and risk-taking.


For information about the Destination ImagiNation program, or to financially help Tahoma High School’s Global Finals-bound team, contact Tahoma’s district coordinator, Dyann McVay, at (425) 432-6030.

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