Local team heading to Destination Imagination Global Finals

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A group of second-, third- and fourth-grade students from elementary schools in Carmel and Noblesville will participate in the Destination Imagination Global Finals May 22 to 25 in Kansas City, Mo. DI is a nonprofit that promotes hands-on learning through challenges that test kids’ creativity, problem-solving and project management skills.

The DI Tectives formed in September 2018. Members are Asia Wofford, Julia Herstein, Prudence Peng, Irina Balaban, Sofia Balaban, Liza Folkin and Raya Stennis. In February and March, the team participated in the Destination Imagination regional and state tournaments in the Scientific: Medical Mystery Challenge.

“They had to choose a disease to research,” said Tatyana Komarova, Liza Folkin’s mother. “Then they had to come up with a script where they explained the disease and explained a cure or how to deal with it. It has to be very scientific, so they chose polio.”

During the competition, each team is given an instant challenge with a problem to solve. In four to six minutes, the team must come up with a solution and present it to the judges. DI Tectives won first place in the challenge.

“They were very excited,” Komarova said. “They were jumping around, dancing and screaming. As a younger team, we didn’t expect that. It’s a big deal.”

The group was formed by the International Talent Academy, a liberal arts school for young children.

“I thought that this is one of the most important programs for kids,” said Komarova, who also is the founder of International Talent Academy. “It’s pretty serious. It teaches kids many different skills, including serious research evaluation of what you’re reading. Then, you have to discuss it and come together as a team to decide what you want to do.”

International Talent Academy will host a summer camp called Creative Tech for students ages 9 to 15 who are interested in learning more about DI and STEAM programs. For more, visit internationaltalentacademy.org.

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