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University, Maharishi School students win awards at world creativity competition
by Jim Karpen

Maharishi University of Management Review    Translate This Article
12 June 2005

Not only did Maharishi School students win more first- and second-place awards than any other school in the worldwide Destination ImagiNation competition, they also won more awards than the entire state of California—and every other state, with the exception of Texas.

Their total of five first- and second-place awards compares to a total of four top awards won by the 27 schools entered from California. Combined, all schools from Texas won a total of eight, and Wisconsin had three. All other states and countries had fewer.

There were some 860 teams competing from nearly as many schools—all of them at the global competition by virtue of having been country or state champions. There were 40-60 teams in each category of competition from 15 countries as well as the US.

Also, two Maharishi University of Management students won two first-place awards in DI Xtreme, a college-level improvizational competition among a smaller field of six teams. The teams are given a challenge in the morning, have a number of hours to prepare, and then present their solution in the afternoon. Participating were Destination ImagiNation veterans Aaron Hirshberg and Milo Winningham.

'This level of success is just unprecedented,' said coach Mark Headlee. 'No other school that I know of has ever done anything like this.'

He believes their success is the direct result of Consciousness-Based(SM) education. 'The Transcendental Meditation Technique is the only variable by which you can explain this phenomenon.'

Destination ImagiNation is an international creative-problem-solving programme that develops cooperative teamwork and critical thinking, as well as building technical and performance skills. The participants come up with ingenious and often wildly entertaining solutions to complex challenges. There are five separate problem challenges for each of three levels of education: elementary, middle, and secondary.

In the category titled Live! It's RaDIo DI!, which involved producing and presenting an eight-minute radio show that is judged on areas such as sound effects, the Middle School team won first place and the Upper School team took second. The Upper School team also received the Renaissance Award, which is not related to a team's score on the various criteria but is a subjective award given by the judges to the team that demonstrates unusual creativity.

In describing the team's unusual creativity, the judges said, 'This team took the challenge of designing a technical 'modement' to make sound above and beyond. A motorized corkscrew rotated three dowels, each connected to separate disks that used a piston-style configuration to convert angular momentum into linear movement. This motion was used to rotate three dimmers up and down. This created a warbling sound from a radio. Now, if you can understand any of that, you can understand why this team should win this award. And we won't even tell you about the suspension cage!'

An all-girl Upper School team also won a first-place award in the category Sudden SerenDIpity, which is a short skit developed around the invention of a device and overcoming a problem related to that device.

And in what must be one of the more technically challenging categories—DIsigning Bridges—in which students were required to build a bridge of balsa wood that must support nearly 500 pounds, the Middle and Upper School teams both received second-place awards. Winning bridges are scored on length of span, weight of bridge, and weight supported.

The students spend months working on their chosen challenge and then advance through regional and state competitions. A total of seven Maharishi School teams won the top award at state and advanced to the global competition in late May in Knoxville, Tennessee.

One of the winners was Maharishi School senior Michael Cook, who was on the RaDIo DI and DIsigning Bridges teams, as well as performing with the winning college team by virtue of his acceptance as a student this fall at Maharishi University of Management.

'It's fun to work with others,' Mr. Cook said. 'Solving a problem and then showing everyone the solution is very fulfilling.'

Copyright 2005, Maharishi University of Management

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