NOBLESVILLE — The Churubusco High School Destination Imagination (DI) team won the state title Saturday, and now it is going global.
CHS took two teams to the state finals in DI at Noblesville High School. Both were focused, but only one team will compete in the global finals in Knoxville, Tenn., May 23-26.
The team “Neon Gummi Bears” is made up of Catie Eakins, Brandi Herron, Avery Derr, Robby Pope, Jenna Shambaugh and Rachel Jones. The Bears will compete against teams from Russia, Poland, United Kingdom and 24 other countries and nearly every state in America in the DI at the University of Tennessee.
DI is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving.
The Bears competed in the Solar Stage, the scientific portion of DI. The premise of the contest was complex. No coach, only a team manager, is joining the students but cannot confer with them, which means they can only advise and answer questions and cannot help the team in the development of their idea, the building process or the performance.
The team spent months developing its idea to present its performance in the dark. The challenge was to use solar energy to harness the sun’s power in a new way.
Pope, a senior and a member of the DI team since the fourth grade, built a solar panel and used it to charge all of the batteries used on the dark stage.
Pope and the others used self-made props, costumes and performed a skit using a time traveling booth “to travel” from New York City to Paris, France.
“The criteria of the contest was to use two major cities and power. We came up with the idea of powering Paris because it is known as the City of Lights. We knew that New York City was also very lighted around the clock,” said Eakins.
“I like working with the technical aspect of everything and I made the solar panels. The whole display was lighted from batteries charged from that one solar panel. That made a big difference,” said Pope. He is planning on studying electrical engineering at Purdue University in the fall.
After the eight-minute performance the appraisers asked the students questions on the spot and then scored them.
The team built a Statue of Liberty out of paper mache, and the Eiffel Tower was created with recycled water and pop bottles.
The Bears had a total score of 203.91 points. A score of 100 points is considered job well done according to team manager Rachele Shambaugh.
The team scored 67.91 points on the creativity of their story, clear and effective storytelling and creative integration of research into presentation.
The team scored 85 points for its solar energy prototype, quality of appearance and workmanship of prototype, original and/or unexpected methods used to collect, convert and use the solar energy and effective demonstration of solar energy prototype.
In theatrical lighting, the team scored 51 points for its creative effect of one lighting technique and the effective theatrical use of all lighting techniques.
The team scored an extra 50.65 points for two aspects that were special. Appraisers really liked Eakins newspaper dress and the Statue of Liberty.
The second CHS DI team consisted of Madison Bieber, Cheyenne Conner, Brandon Geopfrich, Valerie Pope, Kaley Scott, Brittney Shambaugh and Kaleb Walker.
Every year DI reaches 125,000 students across the United States and in more than 30 countries.
The CHS teams needs to raise $700 for each student competing.
The first fundraiser is a Nelson’s Chicken Barbecue on May 11. Tickets can be purchased from any DI member or call Julie Mast at (260) 693-2188.