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MPISD – News

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPISD students advance to state Destination Imagination competition

Nine Mount Pleasant Independent School District Destination Imagination (DI) teams competed on Saturday, February 22, at Poteet High School in Mesquite. There were 153 teams from the East Texas region of DI. Eight MPISD teams brought home medals for their efforts, and four MPISD teams are advancing to the state tournament, the Lone Star Finals, April 3-4, 2020, at the University of Texas at Arlington. It will be the first state appearance for any MPISD DI team.

A Destination Imagination Team Challenge is an open-ended project that teams work on over an extended period, usually 2-4 months. There are seven new Team Challenges each year: Engineering, Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Service Learning (Project Outreach), and Early Learning Challenge (Rising Stars!).

Placing 1st and advancing to state in Elementary level Engineering is the Mashed Tater Buildanaters from Corprew Elementary. Team members Braylea Brown, Gael Hernandez, Trisha Easley, Alicia Garcia, Nathan Martinez, and Jassy Pena Petetan had to design and build a bridge out of playing cards and duct tape. They assemble the bridge during an eight-minute acting presentation and move weight across the bridge to test its strength while creating and presenting a story about an unexpected connection and its outcome. They also had to incorporate a technical piece and a setting change into their presentation. The team also completed an Instant Challenge. The scores from the Engineering Challenge: In the Cards and the Instant Challenge earned them a 1st place finish.

Placing 2nd and advancing to state in Elementary Improvisational is the Burrito Sharks from Fowler Elementary. Team members were Julian Herrera, Grace Berry, Adrianna Perez, Monica Esparza, Jayden Baker, and Jaycob Rodriguez, who researched superpowers. They worked on how comic books, literature, film, and other media portrayed the heroes. The team created and presented an improvisational skit about a villain who uses a superpower to cause an unexpected situation, including a hero who uses an underwhelming power to try to overcome the unexpected situation. This team had two minutes to prepare the skit involving a “conundrum” they were delivered on-site and five minutes to perform the skit while including their assigned superpower and underwhelming power. Also assigned on-site, and incorporated sound effects and props they had made from recycled and “found” materials.

Two MPISD 2nd grade teams earned Rising Star medals and have also advanced to state in the Early Learning Challenge category. The Infinite Thinkers from Sims Elementary includes team members Abigail Tolentino, Cooper Tallant, Gavin Foster, J.C. Moss, Josiah Segovia, Karli Lowry, Piper Hearron, Sebastian Otero, and Selah Setina. The Amazing Astroblasts from Brice Elementary includes team members Ariadnna Martinez, Caleb Townson, Jannahi Castro, Kaylee De La Cruz, and Lily Henry. They expected both teams to create a play about space that included a surprise, a team-created puppet, a team-created map, and up to seven team-created rockets. The groups also designed everything from their set to their costumes and props. They also performed an impromptu Instant Challenge that was purposely unknown to the team before they entered.

Also earning 2nd place medals in the Project Outreach Service Learning Challenge were the Colorful Creators from Sims Elementary. Team members Aileen Sorto, Ben Muskrat, Emily Crabb, and Stella Arzate gave their hearts to our community through their DI work this year. They chose to create a hot chocolate stand downtown to earn money to buy Christmas gifts for children in need. The team planned the event, then shopped for gifts and donated them. They also had to create a play that represented one team member’s race against time as they explained their goals and results of their community service work. The team created a cardboard car, as well as a technical device to display its data.

Earning 3rd place medals in the Technical Challenge category was Team Einstein from Sims Elementary. Team members Drason McDaniel, George Fite, Hannah Hughes, Landry McPeters, Sammy Carroll, and Yoseline Nava built an alarm clock that sprayed a fragrance when pushing the snooze button to help someone wake up. They also created a play that demonstrated their device and how it solved a problem. It had to include three different types of engineering exhibited through their team-created props and a flashback to their prototype. They also participated in an instant challenge.

Winning a 3rd place medal in the Engineering category were the Magical Cardsters from Fowler Elementary. Team Members Maisy Matthews, Joahn Balderas, Siya Patel, Berenise Murillo, Jonathan Jimenez, Cristal Leyva, and Kaylee de la Cruz had to design and build a bridge out of playing cards and duct tape. They assembled the bridge during an eight-minute acting presentation and moved weight across the bridge to test its strength, and created and presented a story about an unexpected connection and its outcome. The team designed and built their bridge while performing a skit connecting the celebrations of the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Placing 4th in the Scientific category and earning a medal for Overall High Points in the Instant Challenge were the Magnificent 7-1 from Fowler Elementary. Team members Zoe Zuniga, DeAnna Hatten, Heymar Rivera, Jose Olivares, Lucian Gardner, and Jax Olivares researched a real species and a real habitat and created and presented a story about the first encounter between the species and the habitat. The team presented the Three Little Pigs meet the Arctic Wolf while including research about the Arctic Wolf into their presentation. They created a phone that rang and a “Galaxy Cake” all from recycled or re-purposed materials. The “Magnificent 7-1” team also earned the prestigious Overall High Point medal in the separate Instant Challenge after presented with a previously unknown challenge and a minimal amount of time to work together to solve it.

Finally, placing 12th out of 18 teams in the Improvisational category were the Telekinetic Tigers from Brice Elementary. Team members Asia Salters, Dakota Williams, Erik Banda, Grayson Hunter, and Kennedy Jones researched superpowers and created sound effects before the tournament. They had two minutes to plan and five minutes to perform a skit that included the following unknown elements: a conundrum, a villain’s superpower, and a hero’s underwhelming power.

“Destination Imagination has something for almost all students,” said MPISD GT teacher and DI Coordinator, Jamie King. “Though we are centered around creative problem solving, students build teamwork and communication skills that last a lifetime. It is a joy and an honor to serve our MPISD GT students as they work together to create unique solutions for their challenges in technical, engineering, science, fine arts, improvisational, and rising stars. Our teams dedicated many hours of researching, planning, developing, and building ideas, skills, props, sets, costumes, and skits. Our East Region tournament is the opportunity to show their solutions to a panel of appraisers and a large audience.”

The coaches are Jamie King, Sheila Eddy (The Magnificant 7-1), and Kristi Berry (The Burrito Sharks), for the MPISD Destination Imation Teams.


Pictured: L to R Keyla Plancarte and Evelyn DeSantiago 

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS Future Educators compete at State, Advance to Nationals

The Mount Pleasant High School Chapter of the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) attended the Teach Tomorrow Summit in McAllen, TX, on February 20-22. Six MPHS TAFE members competed in six events and brought home two awards, including two students qualifying for Nationals.

Seniors Evelyn DeSantiago and Keyla Plancarte competed in Children’s Literature Pre-K. Their score advanced them to the Educator’s Rising National Conference in Washington, DC, on June 17-21, 2020. Their book titled “Julie Sees Germs,” teaches preschoolers about the spread of germs in classrooms and the importance of proper handwashing.

Plancarte also earned a Gold Certificate for her Portfolio, the highest award possible.

Also competing for MPHS were Mirka Soto and Sophy Turner with STEM lesson plans, Daniela Robles with an ARTS lesson plan, and Polyana Olvera in Creative Lecture. 

 “Future educators from The Mount Pleasant High School TAFE chapter competed at the state level for the fifth year in a row in mid-February,” said MPHS TAFE advisor, Aimee Sweeden. “MPHS TAFE represented well at the Teach Tomorrow Summit 2020 in McAllen, TX, in six different events. To say I am excited to return to Nationals is an understatement. I am proud of these ladies and grateful that I get to be a part of their journey.”