Weekly roundup: LB teams advance in problem-solving contest, school safety after Columbine and more

A pair of teams from Laguna Beach Unified has advanced to the finals in a contest that tasks students with tackling complex, open-ended challenges and presenting their creative solutions at tournaments.

Newspaper illustrationAs the Laguna Beach Indy reports, Laguna Beach High’s “Brilliant Boom Bam Bananas” and Thurston Middle School’s “Catnip” have earned their way to next month’s Global Finals, the culminating event of the Destination Imagination (DI) Affiliate Tournament. They’ll be joined in Kansas City, Missouri by squads from 45 states and 14 countries.

“Creative thinking is a critical problem-solving skill that encourages students to approach problems with fresh perspectives to develop new solutions,” LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria told the Indy. “The Destination Imagination Tournament provides an opportunity for students to hone their social-emotional self-management skills as they learn to cope with risk, confusion and disorder to complete the varying challenges.”

The team from Laguna Beach High was challenged to design an aircraft capable of delivering a team-created payload — and create story about one or more characters exploring a remote place. The Thurston team had to research historical figures found on coins from around the world and present an improvisational skit on the figures in two parts, changing between comedy and tragedy, and in two styles, changing from verbal to nonverbal.

Global Finals 2019 will take place May 22‒25, marking the 20th year of the international competition.

Here are some other stories you may have missed from the week ending April 26:

  • Huntington Beach High is hosting a traveling Holocaust exhibit that’s on loan from the Simon Wiesenthal Center this week. The OCDE Newsroom posted a video feature on “Courage to Remember: The Holocaust 1933-1945,” which will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.
  • A team of students from OCDE’s home-schooling program has been named a national finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, billed as the largest rocket contest in the world. The annual competition gives STEM-savvy middle and high schoolers the chance to design, build and launch model rockets.
  • Los Alamitos Unified has a new superintendent, and it’s a name familiar to the community. Dr. Andrew Pulver, who has served Los Al for 20 years, was selected to succeed Dr. Sherry Kropp.
  • Beloved water polo coach Cesar Altamirano, who guided Tustin High School to its first CIF-SS finals appearance since 1982 and coached for the nonprofit SOCAL water polo club, has died from injuries sustained in a car crash, Tustin Unified officials announced this week.
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