Destination Imagination teams prepare

HOWLAND — Howland High School senior Kyle Rhine, 18, has the distinction of being on two Destination Imagination teams this season.

Rhine, who has been in DI since third grade, said he is allowed to be part of two teams as long as they are different challenges.

One team is competing in the scientific category and is building an amusement park, and the other is competing in the fine arts category with a music theme.

”It’s nice to get to know two different Howland teams,” Rhine said, noting both teams should do well.

DI is an annual competition that many school districts in the area have taken part in for many years.

The mission is to develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st-century skills and creativity.

The DI program is a hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity and curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning.

Participants learn persistence, respect for others and their ideas and the collaborative problem-solving process.

Koula Anastasiades, team manager for The 7 Bobs team, said the team is competing for its sixth year and has made it to global finals four of its past five years.

The area teams will compete March 10 at the regional tournament at Youngstown State University, with teams who are successful moving on to the state event March 24 at Mount Vernon College.

Top teams advance to global finals in late May in Knoxville, Tenn.

Many teams began preparing for their challenges since last fall.

Howland resident Thomas Awaida, 14, a freshman who has been in DI since fourth grade, said he looks forward to being on the teams through high school and college.

”I like spending time with everyone here. We are like a family. Being able to express creativity is what makes it fun,” Awaida said.

Maria Anastasiades, 14, a freshman, said the team is competing in the fine arts category high school level with the theme ”Change of Tune.”

She said the team is required to make a musical with two defined acts and include special visual effects.

Koula Anastasiades said DI includes a Rising Stars division that allows students kindergarten to second grades to take part at events but not be judged.

There are also engineering, scientific, fine arts, improvisation and service project categories.

Maria Anastadiades said she looks forward to learning how to compose music using software and props.

Teams who compete each year usually try new challenges and categories.

While adults can guide, they can’t interfere with ideas of students and work done by team members.

”There is no adult interference. That is what is nice about the program,” said Koula Anastadiades.

Maria Glaros, 13, eighth grade, said she enjoyed going to global finals in past years, with the team making it to fourth place one year.

”I look forward to a good year,” said youngest team member Tasso Anastadiades, 10, fifth grade, marking his third year competing.

He said he likes building things and wants to be an engineer in the future.

”DI is creative and I love it,” said Tasso Anastadiades.

Bob Capp is the new regional director and will oversee the March 10 event.