SOURCE: Pleasanton Destination ImagiNation Team

May 31, 2005 12:38 ET

Pleasanton Students Bring Home World Championship

Northern California Kids Dominate Creative Problem-Solving Tournament at Global Finals in Tennessee

PLEASANTON, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 31, 2005 -- Exceptional creativity and problem-solving skills are bred and nurtured here as teams from Pleasanton Middle School and Hearst Elementary won top honors in the Global Finals of Destination ImagiNation (DI) in Knoxville, Tennessee. These talented students brought home First Place, Second Place, Third Place, and a special Renaissance Award.

Over the past week these two teams competed against 8,000 students and more than 850 teams from all over the world in four major challenges. Across five challenge categories, three age levels and 45 main awards, only six California teams were honored -- and three of those were from Pleasanton, California.

The two teams, led by manager Elizabeth Flores, worked for six months after school and weekends planning, building, practicing and fundraising to compete against schools and home-schooled teams that make DI part of the curriculum. The teams solve two types of Challenges: the Team Challenge involves structural, technical or theatrically oriented Challenges and takes several months to solve. Teams also practice improvisational Instant Challenges, which stimulate the team's ability to think quickly and creatively with only minutes to prepare solutions.

First Place -- Middle School Division, DIzzy Derby

The team representing Pleasanton Middle School (PMS) won first place in DIzzy Derby, the most technical category of Destination ImagiNation. PMS students James Hedrick, Sargun Dhillon, Haley Laine, Adam Siegel, Diane Rodriguez of Los Cerros Middle School in Danville, and Preston Hedrick of Hearst Elementary built a centrifuge from a modified treadmill motor powering a PVC boom and cart.

Vintage Hills School third-grader Jared Siegel laid on the cart as it whipped around the triangular track 140 times in less than seven minutes. Their lap count tied the number of laps completed by the first place high school and university-level teams.

The final score also reflected the team's Chicago-themed tango dancing, props, scenery, costumes and an Instant Challenge to place them ahead of 62 other teams in their age group and category.

Second Place -- Middle School Division, Sudden Serendipity

The PMS team also won second place out of 48 teams for their Chicago pizza-themed music, dancing, singing, intricate props and scenery in this performance-based category about an initial invention and a serendipitous event that results in yet another invention.

Third Place -- Elementary Division, Sudden Serendipity Renaissance Award -- Sudden Serendipity

Sachin Dhar, Preston Hedrick, Hunter Laine, Kelly Villanueva and Patricia Walchessen from Hearst Elementary earned third place out of 51 teams with an entertaining and educational skit about bridging the cultures between U.S.A. and Brazil. Their intricate costumes and elaborate mosaic murals took months to build, dazzling the appraisers and audience.

Appraisers recognized their outstanding engineering and design of props, costumes and scenery with a rare Renaissance Award, saying, "Each member of our appraiser team was thoroughly amazed by the wonderful set, props and costumes of this team's presentation. We caught our breath as the team unfolded a backdrop revealing a large mosaic of a colorful rainforest made from tiny paint chips. They made bird wings that opened magically using a pulley system and a tree of leaves made from hundreds of Andes mint wrappers. Creative use of materials, along with impeccable artistic talent, enhanced an ecological theme and made this performance unforgettable."

About Destination ImagiNation

Destination ImagiNation is the world's largest creativity and problem solving program for children and adults, with participants in 47 United States, several Canadian provinces, and 15 other countries. The Destination ImagiNation program helps kids build important lifelong skills, like problem solving, teamwork and divergent thinking. For more about DI Global Finals: www.idodi.org

NOTE: Complete Destination ImagiNation results can be found at www.idodi.org/results.htm. JPEG photos of the teams and video clips from the competition are available upon request.

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