Seven Wylie DI teams are headed to the Destination Imagination State Finals based on their performances at the regional competition on Feb. 25.
Five of the teams advanced by winning their divisions and two others were notified later that they were chosen as wild cards. Both of those were 2nd in their divisions.
The teams will compete against the best in the state in April for a chance to advance to the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn., in May.
Also at regionals, two Wylie teams won Renaissance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering, and Wylie senior Jannae Delacot won both of the two scholarships awarded.
Wylie DI Director Kim Cheek said winning both scholarships is extremely rare, but Wylie is making it look common. Last year, Jannae’s teammate Kiersten Cooper won both of the scholarships. For Jannae to also win both scholarships is amazing, Cheek said.
“Both of those girls are rare jewels,” she said. “The girls put the effort and the work into it. They were the epitome of what the scholarships are about.”
Jannae has participated in DI since 4th-grade and has advanced to state every year except her first. She has qualified for Globals five times. She was part of the DI team Iced Coffee that finished 3rd in the world five years ago with a presentation designed to bring awareness to Breast Cancer. When Iced Coffee disbanded, Jannae found success with Simply Platonic last year and Illegally Blind this year.
She said she has learned a great deal from DI.
“It’s a good outlet for your creativity,” she said. “Once you finish your challenge, you have something to be proud of. I was a really shy kid, and it pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
In DI, students form teams of seven and pick one of the challenges predetermined by DI. Students from around the world choose from the same challenges.
Wylie students must write scripts, build sets and props, design and build machines and thoroughly research their solutions.
“We start in October,” Jannae said. “We work on developing a story. Once January starts, its building every Saturday and then every Tuesday and Thursday and then every day.”
She said people often comment about the amount of work that goes into DI, but she said she doesn’t see it as any different than the work put in by a good athlete.
“They work out six days a week,” she said. “It’s almost the same thing. It’s worth the time you put in. It’s not work. It’s fun.”
She said the best part of DI is the friendships that develop from spending so much time together.
“I made meaningful friends,” she said. “I have a lot of friends that are, I hope, lifelong friends. I also learned a lot of life lessons. I learned to persevere and deal with heartbreak, and I learned to work hard.”
She said one of the great things about DI is that the teams are purposefully formed with students of different talents. Some like acting, some like building, some like art and some, like Jannae, enjoy working behind the scenes.
Sixth-graders Ryan Blake and Wyatt Edmiston are examples of that. Wyatt is a genius at building structures for the engineering challenge, and Ryan is great at writing scripts for his team’s presentation. They have parlayed that partnership into three trips to Globals in three tries and last year they won the Global Championship in their division.
They are headed to state again this year after their project took 1st place at regionals.
The boys said they must now prepare for state, which is highly competitive. Wyatt will build four new structures, and Ryan must add to the script.
“We are going to add some wow elements – things that the judge will remember,” Wyatt said.
Ryan said the team built a helicopter large enough for a person to sit in, and they are going to make the helicopter run on its own by the time state rolls around. They will just refine their entire project, he said.
“It looks rough right now,” he said. “We are going to make it cleaner.”
Wylie took 11 teams to the regional competition where they competed against more than 300 teams from the Greater Fort Worth area. All Wylie teams placed in the Top 10 of their division.
The teams that are going to state include:
* Galvanized Steel won 1st place in the High School Technical Challenge and won a Renaissance Award for Outstanding Creativity in Engineering. Members are Declan Sauley, Eden Sauley, Austin Farely, Sadie Okersrom and Dalton Vasquez.
* Illegally Blind won 1st place in High School Project Outreach and 1st place in Instant Challenge and also won a Renaissance Award. As an outreach project, the team collected 220 pairs of glasses in partnership with the Wylie Lions Club and the Cactus Lions Club.
Members are Jannae Delacot, Maddie Cole, Bailey Buck, Christian Barbian, Zach Binkly, Joseph Rubio and Colton McClellan.
* The Undecided won 2nd place in the High School Fine Arts Challenge and earned a wildcard spot. Members are Katie Garcia, Isabella Garcia, Chris Garcia, Coltyn Cook, Christian Ramirez and Tara Bachran.
* Screaming Banana Goats won 1st place in the Middle School Engineering Challenge and 1st place in Instant Challenge. Members are Ryan Blake, Wyatt Edmiston, Josh Fenton, Dayra Ferguson,
* Random Ducks won 1st place in the Elementary Fine Arts Challenge. Members are Tanner Jones, Garrett Jones, Brandon Cowling, Carson Wells, Conner Krake, Berkley Britton, and Skylar Nicholson.
* Neon Knights earned 2nd place in the Elementary Fine Arts Challenge and got an at-large bid to state. Members are Jack Chatfield, Noah Majkowski, Ranaq Malhotra, Sanay Salvi, Joshua Heidema, Chris Cho and Caden Miller.
* Pickled Leprechauns won 1st place in the Elementary Engineering Challenge. Members are Jacob Bruuse, Emily McBride, Parker Blair, Reid Messer, Sadie Mae Todd, Aubrie Hammond and Ryan Ross.
Other Wylie teams were:
* Metallic Chickens finished 2nd place in the Elementary Fine Arts Challenge and just missed a trip to state. Members are Kyle Page, Zoey Carr, Nalyssa Shirley, Avery Nelson, Michael Grimland, McKenzie McElyea and Abby Bulls.
* Talking Tacos finished 4th in the Elementary Engineering Challenge. They are Steven Cowling, Ryleigh Green, Daisy Smith, Mason Perkins, James Calvery, Caitlin Silva, and Carlee Nelson.
* Sun Toasted Waffles finished 5th in the Middle School Scientific Challenge. They are Evy Chatfield, Cerys White, Sydney Katona, Deja Warren.
* Phenomenomenoms finished 7th in the Middle School Fine Arts Challenge. They are Grace Rhodes, Conner Suave, Coey Stickney and Mark Fakhoury.