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Destination Imagination Team Cleans Up with Roomba Theme

7 DI team members Destination Imagination (DI) Team Roomba Republic of Somers Middle School won first place at both the Eastern Region of NYDI Tournament and the 2024 New York Affiliate Tournament in Binghamton in the Blast from the Past category for the middle level. DI is a STEAM competition that happens on the regional, state, and global levels throughout all grades from K-12 and even into college. Teams compete in a specific category and must solve a problem through a presentation.

“We’ve been a team for a long time,” said Ilon Lyons. “I’ve been doing it since first grade. Others joined in third or fourth.”

Ilon’s teammate Felicity McCormack explained that for this year’s challenge, “there had to be an artifact, and the finding of that artifact had to create a life-changing discovery.”

Team Roomba Republic found a winning solution that is taking them to new levels. In addition to Ilon and Felicity, the winning sixth-grade team includes Marco Avila, Julie Genovesi, Elie Manteau, Laurel Knapp, and Alice Orzechowski. They all love DI for different reasons.

“I like how the whole team thinks of ideas,” said Alice, “and then we make one cool skit that everyone likes. It’s all about the imagination that you put into it.”

“I like the creativity of it,” said Felicity. “You get to create your own story and your story will be so different from everyone else’s.”

Teams can choose to compete in one of six challenges, including technical, scientific, engineering, fine arts, improvisation, and service. Team Roomba Republic chose the scientific challenge and invented a world in which Roomba vacuums rule over humans.

5 DI team members at competition in matching shirts“In the rules of the scientific challenge, you had to make a puppet by technical methods,” said Elie. “We did the ghost of Marco Polo powered by a fan. It was a balloon with fishing wire.”

This year, Team Roomba Republic also won the DaVinci Award for outstanding creativity at the Eastern Regional tournament, bringing it home to Somers Central School District for the first time since 2008.

“You get the DaVinci Award for thinking outside of the box,” added Felicity. “The balloon looked like it was floating, and the judges were super impressed.”

After another great presentation at the New York Affiliate Tournament in Binghamton, Team Roomba Republic has advanced to the global tournament in Kansas in May.