Andover teams shined on Sunday as the Massachusetts Region 5 Destination Imagination Tournament returned to town after a five-year hiatus. Andover High School hosted the tournament that brought 92 teams of young people from 15 Essex County communities to town to compete.
The event saw the highest participation ever of Andover teams, with 27 groups boasting about 140 students from every public, and most private, schools taking part. A record eight of those local teams won first place and the right to advance to the states this Saturday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Destination Imagination is a global organization sponsoring creative-problem solving competitions for youths in kindergarten through grade 12. The competitions help students learn creative problem-solving, teamwork, collaboration and communication skills.
Each fall, the global DI program releases new challenges in each of its seven categories — technical, fine arts, scientific, structure, improvisation, service learning and a special, noncompetitive program called “Rising Stars” for children in kindergarten through grade 2.
Sunday’s tournament was the culmination of weeks of work by the students on their chosen challenges. Hundreds of spectators were on hand as the young competitors presented their diverse ideas, complete with eye-catching props and artwork, innovative technical devices, handmade costumes and more.
Andover produced winners in five of the challenges for children in grades three through 12, with 13 teams placing in the top three of their age groups. While seven teams comprised of Andover kindergarten through second-grade students showcased their solutions, that age group does not compete or move on to the states.
In the technical challenge, “Dig In,” where children had to design a technical device to move objects from one place to another, Andover had three winners. Teams from Bancroft Elementary and Doherty Middle schools both won their division, while a West Elementary School teams placed second.
For the scientific challenge, “Going to Extremes,” where students had to research extreme environments and create a skit about adaptations that humans might make to survive there, Andover had winners in all three age groups. Teams from West Elementary, Doherty Middle and Andover High placed first, while a Wood Hill team came in second. The Doherty team received a coveted Renaissance Award for design and engineering of their extreme environment.