Magical Moonfoxes, Vitamin Z teams rank among the best

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Magical MoonFoxes Elise Kronquist, Rachel Rise and Alena Madin took first place in their instant challenge at the Destination Imagination Global Finals.Working their clever conjurations, the Magical MoonFoxes of Lake Oswego High School dominated one category at the Destination Imagination Global Finals, and the three teens, along with another local team, Vitamin Z, put in a strong performance overall in their divisions.

DI is a nonprofit educational organization that aims to inspire the next generation to become innovators and leaders, offering tournaments such as the international event in Knoxville, Tenn., last month. Teams must demonstrate originality, teamwork and problem-solving skills in six challenge areas, such as service learning (called Pitch & Play this year); and fine arts, called Laugh Art Loud.

In the Global Finals Laugh Art Loud challenge for high schoolers, the MoonFoxes landed the top spot in the instant challenge, one of three key factors on which teams are judged. The students had about four or five minutes to build a structure to a certain height on top of a volcano-like structure with a fan blowing out its top, using dowels, twist ties, pipe cleaners, a piece of paper, rubberbands, a plastic bag and straw. If done within the allotted time, the students had another minute to create a back story for their creation, and the MoonFoxes came up with an astronomy-oriented tale, said Alena Madin, a MoonFox and LOHS SUBMITTED PHOTO - Magical MoonFoxes solve a logic puzzle.

Their creation was “a space observatory looking for life in the right-hand quadrant of the Horsehead Nebula,” a concept that star-wise MoonFox Rachel Rise inspired, said Madin, 16.

Overall, the MoonFoxes ranked 16th out of 49 rankings and more than 60 teams, and Vitamin Z earned the 25th place in the service learning challenge. The main challenge for the MoonFoxes involved researching a work of art and creating a theatrical presentation in comic strip panels.

For their skit, the MoonFoxes were dots escaping from a pointillism work, “La Seine a la Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat, and embarking upon an adventure in France’s Louvre. The dots feel they’ve no purpose but discover they’re a crucial part of a greater thing.

The Global Finals drew a record 1,412 teams — 7,978 from 45 states and 15 countries, including Canada, China and Singapore. Madin said there was a good deal of pin trading amongst the teams.

“It was really cool because there were so many people there from so many different places,” Madin said.

Out of almost 70 teams, Vitamin Z, composed of Westridge and Hallinan elementary school students, tied for the 25th place in the service learning Pitch & Play challenge, requiring students to identify a genuine community need, create a solution and perform a skit about SUBMITTED PHOTO - Magical MoonFoxes Elise Kronquist, Alena Madin and Rachel Rise pause for a smile.

Vitamin Z team member and fifth-grader Tessa DiVergilio led the team in creating an app to ready people for earthquakes, guiding users through a series of questions to help them form a plan and pack an emergency kit. Vitamin Z’s app, The Golden Quake, first launched as a project for the FIRST LEGO Robotics League tournament in December, where the group was victorious. Tessa said the app idea arose from the potential for a major earthquake in Oregon and team members’ fondness for technology. The app is available in the Google Play store.

Diana Laboy-Rush whose son, Elliott, is in Vitamin Z, said she is proud of the kids, who were honored and put in a strong performance.

“After all of their rehearsals, to see their performance, it was probably 100 times better than they were at state,” Laboy-Rush said. “It was just amazing to see their reaction.”

Six of the seven Vitamin Z members and the MoonFoxes also participated in a successful effort to shatter the Guinness world record for the number of people dressed in duct tape clothing in one place.

“It was quite an amazing event,” she REVIEW FILE PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Vitamin Z, composed of Westridge and Hallinan elementary school students, tied for 25th place in the Pitch & Play challenge at the Global Finals of Destination Imagination. Pictured here, from left, Elliott Rush and Alex Malmros dress up for an event to shatter the Guinnes world record for people wearing duct tape clothes in the same place.

Adults aren’t supposed to interfere in the idea generation for the DI groups.

“They’ve just had a lot of fun being creative and creating really wild props and scenery, and that’s what this is all about,” said Hilary Johnson, Madin’s mom and the Magical MoonFoxes team manager.

Madin’s dad, Ian Madin, said he didn’t get the chance to fly south for the Global Finals, but he heard all about it.

“They had a great time, and they won in their (instant challenge), and had a pretty exciting experience,” he said.

By Jillian Daley
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