Earhart Elementary Students Place Second in International Competition

2015 Destination Imagination Global The Alameda team Di Express placed second among 63 teams in for its performance in the Destination Imagination Global Finals. Pictured top row, left to right: team manager Larry Witte, Adam Elmansouri, Maylee Witte, Cooper Gunning and team manager Bruce Kaneshiro; bottom row, left to right: Nicole Cramer, Amanda Lee, Katy Hosokawa and Devin Kaneshiro.

Seven fourth- and fifth-grade students from Amelia Earhart Elementary School placed second among 63 teams in their category at the Destination Imagination Global Finals competition that took place from May 20 to 23. The team is the first ever from Alameda to place in the top three and one of just three California teams to do so in 2015.

The team, DI Express, consisted of Nicole Cramer, Adam Elmansouri, Cooper Gunning, Katy Hosokawa, Devin Kaneshiro, Amanda Lee and Maylee Witte.

The team challenge for DI Express was to create a performance that incorporated an expressive work of art, a functional art piece and an illusion. DI Express wrote the script, built props and scenery and performed all the roles in the play. The focus of this year’s competition was a "feary tale" about a phobia. "We started working on the play in December," said Devin Kaneshiro, one of the script writers. "Through the winter we changed parts of it so we could add more pieces and make it better."

In addition to the team challenge, DI Express successfully completed an instant challenge in which it had four minutes to solve a structural puzzle. "We worked really well together," said Katy Hosokawa, one of the leaders of the instant challenge. "We had to work fast and change our ideas to solve the challenge." The combined scores from the team and instant challenges determined the winners. A team from China finished ahead of DI Express.  

DI Express was one of three teams from Earhart to compete at the Global Finals, the most of any California school. "It was fun seeing our classmates compete at Globals," said Cooper Gunning. "Our team competed in the fine arts category." The other Earhart teams, Knights of the DI Table and Put down That Cookie, competed in community service and structural engineering, respectively.

The three teams had to raise funds to cover transportation and lodging. The teams received corporate and individual contributions, and community support at its parking lot sale and Glow-in-the-Dark Fun Run, as well as other events. "It took a lot of work from everyone on the teams, the parents and the community," said Amanda Lee. "We want to thank everyone who helped us realize our dream of competing in Global Finals in Tennessee."

Larry Witte and Bruce Kaneshiro were the co-managers of the DI Express team. Margaret Hosokawa provided coaching and logistical support.