Gilroy students take first in regional competition

Destination ImagiNation team members from left to right:

Gilroy
– A team of seven 10-year-old Gilroy students called the Black
Ninja Dragons, walked away with first prize in the regional
tournament of a nationwide problem-solving competition called
Destination ImagiNation held in San Jose over the weekend.
Gilroy – A team of seven 10-year-old Gilroy students called the Black Ninja Dragons, walked away with first prize in the regional tournament of a nationwide problem-solving competition called Destination ImagiNation held in San Jose over the weekend.

For the past six months, fourth-graders Amanda and Ashley Amos, Morgan Czeropski, Alyssa and Nicholas Dorn, Alexander Spaeth and Tevin Voorhees have put their creative minds to work, meeting on the weekends and after school to develop a vehicle that could smoke the eight other cars on the triangular-shaped track.

The seven are a blend of students representing Rucker Elementary, Rod Kelley Elementary and Pacific West Christian Academy.

“The (Destination ImagiNation) competition is all kid led, kid created,” said team manager Doris Dorn. It marks one of the few times in their young lives that kids can tell parents to leave them alone – and they have to listen.

“Parents aren’t supposed to help at all,” she added.

Dorn also is the mother of two of the Black Ninja Dragons.

“You can’t even offer suggestions. If they say, ‘Let’s build a monorail,’ you have to say “That’s nice, and how are you going to build it?”

The challenge changes each year – this year it was the “Dizzy Derby.”

Students had to design and build a vehicle that could transport multiple team members and navigate tight corners and around obstacles.

“It was red and made of wood,” Ashley Amos said describing the vehicle she and her teammates developed. “Oh, and it had ropes on both ends so we could pull it,” she added.

Her sister, Amanda said that everything – from choosing the team name to the design was agreed upon by all of the Black Ninja Dragons. “We all were thinking of designs and we just put it in our ideas,” she said. So without taking their parents advice – the seven still made it to the top – building everything with their own 14 hands.

The Black Ninja Dragons will compete against approximately 200 other teams at the state finals in Clovis on April 9.

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