The Andover Townsman
---- — An Andover High School Destination Imagination team is headed to the 2013 Global Finals after finishing in the top two at the state competitions recently.
The “Wind Visible” team made up of seniors Rebecca Doolan and Rachel Christ and sophomores Joseph Vetere, Dean Smith and Andrew Matteucci got the nod by building a working windmill based on a Danish design that is powered by a wind turbine, which they constructed as well.
Coached by John Vetere, Ken Matteucci and Stephanie Maze-Hsu, the students researched Denmark, one of the world’s leaders in wind energy, as part of their project. They won a Renaissance Award for design and engineering, a commendation that is awarded to only a few teams a year.
Wind Visible team members have been participating in Destination Imagination since they were in elementary school. Doolan and Christ previously were on another team that qualified for the Global Finals twice before, once while in middle school and another time while in high school. Vetere, Smith and Matteucci, meanwhile, are making their first trip to globals. The teammates also coach younger students and help run several parent meetings and Instant Challenge clinics for other students during the year.
A second Andover team — a combined West/Wood Hill middle school group — narrowly missed a return trip to globals after placing third at the states for its challenge called “Change in Realitee.” The team, which includes Ananda Kao, Emily Wagner, Josh Combs and Daniella, Maria and Dario Tagliaferri, has progressed to states four out of the last five years, and headed to the Global Finals twice in that time.
As a Destination Imagination team manager for the past 15 years, Maze-Hsu said she has learned that students who participate in the program “build incredible life-long skills.”
“The program emphasizes the STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) concepts along with writing and the fine arts,” she says. “Children develop their teamwork skills as they learn about failing forward, deadlines and, most importantly, creative, resourceful thinking skills.”
In Massachusetts, between 700 and 800 Destination Imagination teams compete at regional and state tournaments, with 30 teams continuing on to Global Finals, according to Maze-Hsu. There, the teams compete with thousands of students representing every state as well as 41 countries.
This year, Andover had 20 teams participate in Destination Imagination. Five teams qualified for the state tournament, with Wind Visible the only one earning the right to participate at globals, which is set for Memorial Day weekend.