Students Learn Innovation and Perseverance at Academic Competition

Apr. 11, 2019

For the past 20 years, students across Colorado have participated in Destination Imagination, an academic competition that provides students with an opportunity to become innovators of the future. This year, the team from Omar D. Blair Charter School not only learned about the arts, engineering and teamwork; they also learned how important perseverance is to success.

Six students tackled the Technical Challenge assignment in the competition. The Space Guardians team, which includes Shea Crossman Jr., Maheen Rahimi, Treyvon Cooper, Brooklyn Perenyi, Kamil Abshir and Yafet Andualem, worked together to design an aircraft capable of taking off, flying and landing while dropping a series of payloads. The students were also required to incorporate a play or skit with a feature character, special effects and team choice elements.

The fifth-grade students worked together to build a functional aircraft using physics, structural engineering and mathematics. The aircraft was required to take off from a takeoff zone and drop a payload in a specific zone without any assistance. Students also had to incorporate these actions into a story about one or more characters exploring a remote place. The Space Guardians crafted a story involving a character named Amelia, who along with her curious classmates, was sucked into an ancient book and propelled into the vast space of the universe. The students created the props, costumes and script themselves and were scored on technical innovation, clear and effective storytelling, and a dramatic portrayal of the featured character.

Throughout several months of work, these fifth graders faced a number of unexpected challenges in the process, including the historic Colorado bomb cyclone. “My scholars overcame a first round of setbacks and voted to move forward and participate in their chosen Destination Imagination challenge,” said Anne-Marie L. McNeal, Gifted and Talented Coordinator at Omar D. Blair.

The students had to recreate their work several times, including when some students decided to leave the group. “Our team wanted to quit two times. We had to restart almost half our project,” said student Brooklyn Perenyi. Fortunately, they did not quit and earned the chance to compete in the state competition on Saturday, April 6th at the Auraria Campus.

“We overcame a short time limit, teamwork problems, people not coming to the competition, disagreements and people having to leave the group,” said team member Kamil Abshir. “Overall, we tried our best and we made something work.”

In addition, the Space Guardians received the Spirit of Discovery & Imagination “Spirit of DI” award for exceptional spirit, teamwork, volunteerism and sportsmanship. Congratulations to these students for modeling the DPS core values!