Comox Valley students going global

All Comox Valley students at the provincial Destination Imagination (DI) tournament qualified for the global finals. - Photo submitted
All Comox Valley students at the provincial Destination Imagination (DI) tournament qualified for the global finals.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Every single Comox Valley secondary student who went to the provincial Destination Imagination (DI) tournament qualified for the global finals.

“Our school district has been one of the bright lights in the province on this — it’s one of the best in Canada at this,” says Jeff Taylor, North Vancouver Island regional director for DI and Mark. R. Isfeld Secondary School principal.

This year, “we’re in the unusual, but comfortable, position to decide who’s going to go (to the global finals) because we have more than enough people qualifying.”

Nine Comox Valley teams attended the provincial tournament Saturday at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Greater Vancouver.

Though the Comox Valley’s one elementary team didn’t qualify for the finals, Isfeld’s three teams each placed first in their categories and an Isfeld and G.P. Vanier Secondary team placed first in its category.

An all-girl Grade 8 team from Highland placed second at the middle school level, and the district also placed third in three categories.

The tournament included team challenges in one of six focus areas — scientific, technical, structural, fine arts, improvisational and global outreach.

Teams had from September until the tournament to come up with a solution to the challenge.

Teams also had to compete in the instant challenge, which they couldn’t prepare for.

Taylor notes the Comox Valley will likely send four, as yet undecided, teams to the global finals from May 22 to 25 in Knoxville, Tenn.

The worldwide competition saw over 1,200 teams from 16 countries last year.

Although the competitions range in various skills, they all involve multiple skill sets per team, which Taylor says is one of his favourite parts of the challenges.

“Destination Imagination sort of works the left brain and the right brain by making people do things like technical challenges or scientific challenges or structural challenges, but there’s also an artistic or performance component,” he says, adding a team strong in math could still be out of its comfort zone with the performance aspect of a challenge and a team of extroverted artists may struggle with the technical parts.

“So one of the really strong elements of DI that I like so much is that it brings people together who would normally probably not hang out together in a school.

“It sort of breaks down the social clique boundaries and you get a good mix of people working together.”

He also says the program helps hone important skills like “critical thinking, creative thinking, resilience, collaboration and communication.”

Destination Imagination is a non-profit educational organization which encourages students to use 21st century learning skills.

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