Every student in Bedford, and indeed across the country and the world, has had to flex their creative learning, flexible thinking, and problem-solving muscles this year when encountering a school year like no other. And yet, in the midst of a pandemic, 65 Bedford students from 1st graders to high schoolers, opted into virtual creativity and project-based learning challenge through Bedford Destination Imagination. Their persistence, optimism, humor, and collaborative problem-solving offered a bright spot during the cold, long winter of COVID.
Destination Imagination is a national nonprofit that sponsors a creativity competition in which kids work in groups of two to seven to solve open-ended challenges in the fields of science, engineering, architecture, fine arts, and service-learning. The DI program culminates in March and April when students bring the results of their handiwork to competitions to show off their inventiveness, collaboration, and hard work.
Each year the challenges change but their premise remains the same: kids research, construct, and present entirely original work in a team-selected STEAM field such as technology, structural engineering, or fine arts. Students are matched up into teams of up to 7 students in the fall and work together all winter on solving their selected challenge, including writing scripts, building scenery, and designing props, costumes, and other elements on a very small budget and entirely without input or assistance from people outside of their team. In real-world terms, parents can’t measure, cut or nail together wood for the team, sew costumes, or fix something that falls apart. Everything about the project from concept to design to execution is entirely student-driven and student-created. Over the course of the season, kids learn about time management, resource management, and the design process.
This year, students also rolled with COVID safety precautions and constraints, as several teams completed their seasons entirely virtually, using Zoom, Google Meet, and other online conferencing software. Other teams utilized a hybrid approach and worked outdoors, masked to create and execute their challenge solutions.
Bedford DI was pleased to have 4 out of its 7 competitive teams advance to the next level of competition, which will also be held virtually. Virtual Global Finals will take place in June and July, where students will use their creativity and teamwork skills to meet and compete with teams from all over the US as well as countries such as China, Singapore, Poland, Turkey, and Guatemala, to name but a few. Two fourth grade teams earned 3rd place honors in the state and will represent Massachusetts at Virtual Globals — the “Super Rainbow Lazers” (Noah Gilbertson, Annabelle Granville, Emma Keep, and Adam Silver) and “The 5 Inventors” (Georgia Brandt, Ella Dadah, Maddie MacMaster, Kaitlyn Munsie and Emma Sayles). Bedford’s Middle School team of Emory Carroll and Tyler Munsie, known as “Bob and the Platypus Cows” took 1st place in the State for their music video, and BHS freshman team “The Skittleworms” took 2nd place overall in the senior level and earned one of DI’s top honors, a special Renaissance Award for exceptional creativity for their musical challenge solution.
Additionally, although they are not advancing to the next level of competition, Bedford DI is pleased to recognize the hard work and creativity of the 6th grade “French Fry Fridays” (Amelia Bullard, Gabe Favalora, Taylor Hallett, Teddy Hollman, Nayan Karthikeyan, Annaliese Randazzo, and Teresa Silver), and two 3rd grade teams, the “Space Spies” (Antonia Decerbo, Rohan Heid, Alexa Kent, Jordan Marquis, Alexander Olson, Felicity Savoy, and Kiaan Shah), and the “Sunday Squad” (Duncan Burgund, Nora Lally, Lillia MacMaster, Vivian Martin, Arden Randazzo, and Evelyn Scoville).
Finally, our youngest DIers did an absolutely fantastic job with their challenge, “Critter’s Big Adventure”, in which they were asked to come up with a story about a critter including an illustrated picture book, a special effect, and a song. Four teams represented Davis School in this noncompetitive level and did an amazing job learning to collaborate: three 1st grade teams, “Team Puppy” (Eloise Carroll, John Doty, Jack Karlson, Ella Martin, Elle McGinley, Henry Prince, Emma Pollefoort, and Rohan Raja), “The Supersonics” (Gautam Bhusnurmath, Vivaan Bungale, Mia Howard, Glenn Huang, Mihir Keny, Zeki Rizk, and Olivia Tai), and the “Rainbow Snakes DI Kids” (Julian Burgund, Luke Bullard, Ben Chaplin, Maeve Hollman, Shay Patel, Violet Savoy, Peter Silver and Anya Younger ); as well as the “Amazing Creation Girls” from the 2nd grade (Allie Barry, Josephine Granville, Amy Keep, and Sarina Younger).
Bedford DI is pleased to congratulate all of this year’s participants and their parent-volunteer Team Manager for their exceptional imagination, persistence, and teamwork! We would also like to invite the community to celebrate and support our superstar creative problem solvers by dining in or ordering out from Chipotle on Tuesday, May 4th. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Bedford DI.
If you would like to get involved, next season, the Destination Imagination program begins in September/October and culminates with competitive performances in March. To find out more, go to www.destinationimagination.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To be added to our mailing list and be notified when registration opens, fill out this (non-binding) interest form: https://forms.gle/532QmqGFLFGXbB5V7
Bedford DI is also always looking for more adults to volunteer their time and talents to enable kids’ amazing creative potential! Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more!
The Awards ~ Elementary, Middle, and High School!