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Laguna Beach High School’s imagination is the destination

Laguna Beach Code Breakers, from left to right: Kyle Herkins, Andrew Duong, Kenneth Chu, and Isabel Duong perform original skit in Tennessee for Destination Imagination Global Finals tournament. They acted in front of a panel of judges and audience for eight minutes.

Lisa Herkins

Laguna Beach Code Breakers, from left to right: Kyle Herkins, Andrew Duong, Kenneth Chu, and Isabel Duong perform original skit in Tennessee for Destination Imagination Global Finals tournament. They acted in front of a panel of judges and audience for eight minutes.

Grace Wilson, Web Assistant

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Last year, four freshman competed in a global competition called Destination Imagination (DI), in which they were tasked with incorporating cryptography in an original play they created and performed. Now sophomores, Kenneth Chu, Andrew Duong, Isabel Duong and Kyle Herkins, the “Laguna Beach Code Breakers,” competed in Knoxville, Tennessee with over 1,400 teams from around the world.  They earned this opportunity after placing third in their scientific category at State, in Sacramento, California.

“While we were working, we got to know more about each other. My favorite moment was all of the meetings, because it was fun to hang out,” said sophomore Kyle Herkins.

Students of all ages, ranging from elementary school to college level, are welcome to compete in this tournament.  To participate, one must have peer partners and a team parent to assist; most importantly, however, a participant must demonstrate a strong interest in being part of a team, building things, and growing as an individual.

The Global Finals was a multi-day event that included seminars on creative and scientific topics; it included social events with students from around the United States and fifteen other countries.

“Our team raised money by having a bake sale at the Ralphs near the high school. We raised funds ourselves with no adult help, and our group succeeded,” said Andrew Duong.

The group of four and Mandarin teacher Ermei Fan earned enough money to get to the competition last May,  where they showcased their eight-minute scientific and theatrical challenge – a secret space mission, in which they used cryptography to discover where all of Earth’s trash ends up beyond its vast atmosphere.

Last year was the first time students from the district had advanced to Global Finals – not only the “Laguna Beach Code Breakers,” but two groups from Thurston Middle School, as well.

“I think DI can provide a lot of good experience for collaborating in the future. It is an entirely student-driven club where members learn 21st-century skills like leadership, teamwork and communication. Our costumes were inspired by real astronaut models, and our sets were a combination of a jungle and the Pacific Garbage Patch. We thought the costumes and sets would be a perfect blend of creativity and practicality,” said Chu.

Not only did this competition provide them with an outlet to express their creativity, but the experience will benefit college applications, as well.

“I made some friends from Qatar, a country in the Middle East. It was fun to see the different cultures mix together in one city. When we arrived in Tennessee, you get pins and t-shirts from your state/country and trade with people from around the world to collect diverse pins and shirts. I encourage others to join DI, as well,” said Isabel Duong.

Despite facing some rigorous course work, these individuals fit this incredibly rewarding school club into their schedules last year.  In addition to learning some new skills, they found the experience interesting, rewarding and fun.  

“It’s actually a lot of work to do DI – it’s a year-long project, so it’s a lot of time outside of their busy high school life. So for them to be willing to do this, it is already an A+,” said Fan.

 

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The student news site of Laguna Beach High School
Laguna Beach High School’s imagination is the destination