KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Churubusco Jr.-Sr. High School Destination ImagiNation (DI) has made school and state history. The team won the prestigious Renaissance Award at the Global Finals of DI 2012.
Members of the team, The Neon Gummi Bears, are seniors Robby Pope, Brandi Herron and Caitie Eakins; juniors Jenna Shambaugh and Avery Derr and sophomore Rachel Jones. They are coached by Julie Mast and Dena Pope.
DI is a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving.
The Neon Gummi Bears competed in the Solar Stage, the scientific portion of DI. The premise of the contest was complex. No coach, only a team manager, could join the students but could not confer with them, which meant they could only advise and answer questions and could not help the team in the development of their idea, the building process or the performance.
The team spent months developing their idea to present their performance in the dark. The challenge was to use solar energy to harness the sun’s power in a new way.
The DI Global Finals took over the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where 18,000 students ranging from elementary school aged to university level competed in 1,275 teams. Forty-two states and 13 countries were represented. Indiana sent 30 teams to DI Global 2012.
The CJSHS team competed against 62 teams in the secondary level in the Solar Stage category of the contest. They ended up ranking 13th in the contest but won the biggest and most prestigious award, the Renaissance Award.