Eight teams from Andover competed at the Destination Imagination State Tournament on Saturday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Competing alongside 140 other teams from around Massachusetts, Andover’s creative problem-solvers worked hard to succeed at every level.
The Andover High School team, made up of Joseph Vetere, Andrew Matteucci, Dean Smith and Katherine O’Kelly, ran a Spirit Event for the younger children in order to entertain them in the late afternoon before closing ceremonies. They painted the younger children’s faces with Andover Blue and Gold and worked with them to create blue-and-gold Duct tape crowns, hats and large A’s to show their town pride.
High school team managers John Vetere, Ken Matteucci and Stephanie Maze-Hsu all agreed that their work showed the true Spirit of DI — the desire of the older students to mentor the younger ones.
The high school team competed in the problem called Going to Extremes, as did a combined fourth- and fifth-grade team from West and South elementary schools. That team was made up of Brendan Gruenberg, Sam Dougherty, Reed Cahill, Claire Cahill, Aparna Shanmugam and Kate Zdunczyk, with team manager Kerrie Fraser.
The elementary team’s story, according to Fraser, “was just so creative” and took on a science-fiction theme.
A Doherty Middle School team, coached by Melanie Auclair-Fortier and Joe Sylvester and made up of Darya Lee, Katy Clancy, Florence Grenon and Sami Sylvester, also competed in the Hong to Extreme problem.
Although they did not place, the Doherty Tension Builds team, made up of Joshua Krinsky, Jade Martinez, Ryan Giggey, Kyla Sullivan, Shawn Calabro and Maddy Fugere, along with team manager Margaret Sullivan, built a structure that held over 200 pounds.
The two Dig In teams wowed the audience with their clever solutions to this year’s problem of hiding objects in a box. The Doherty team was managed by Ken Matteucci and included eighth-graders Calvin Fumicello, Nathan Goldthwaite, Ian Hurley and William Hamilton.
The High Plain-Bancroft team was made up of Andrew Beckwith, Oscar Bunting, Griffin Hout, Cameron Kirn, Cameron Riley and Tamer Srouji with team managers Nancy Lee and David Bunting. They constructed a homemade metal detector to locate their hidden objects with clicks and noises. This elementary team placed second in their age group, and qualified for Global Finals in Tennessee in May.
A first-year High Plain team of fifth-graders Emme Pitts, Lizzie Jones, Katie Budinger and Abby Chou, with team managers Jackie Cirello Pitts and Katie Budinger, competed in the Improv Challenge where they had to prepare by researching occupations from multiple historical time periods. The team placed first in its age group, also scoring a trip to globals.
The eighth Andover team competing at states was a combined West-Wood Hill middle school team of veteran seventh and eighth=graders who solved the Laugh Art Loud challenge. The team included Ananda Kao, Emily Wagner, Josh Combs, Daniella Tagliaferri, Maria Tagliaferri and Dario Tagliaferri along with team managers Kate Wagner and Stephanie Maze-Hsu. They placed second in their challenge, and also qualified to participate in global finals for the third time.
Joining the three teams in earning a trip to globals is the Andover DI Alums grouping of Rachel Christ, Rebecca Doolan, Michaela Olson, Dan Murray and Robert Hsu, who will be competing as a University Level Team representing their colleges: Clark University in Worcester, Lesley University in Cambridge, Cornell University in New York, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Washington University in St. Louis respectively.
Deciding whether to actually go to globals, an expensive proposition, will be the next step for the top teams. A Dracut-based nonprofit group, Actors, Inc., is working to help defray the costs by donating all of its proceeds from an upcoming production of “Les Miserables” later this month to the DI teams in the Merrimack Valley and surrounding communities. Visit www.actorsincorporated.com for more.