Shrewsbury Iced Lattes earn first place at Destination Imagination Global finals

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

(l to r)) Divya Raghunathan, Diyala Bera, Aabia Hasan, Sneha Ramesh

Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Iced Lattes from Shrewsbury High School had a lot of late nights and a lot if iced lattes to prepare for the Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals tournament held in Knoxville, Tenn., May 23-26. The late nights paid off as they won first place in Secondary Level of Service Learning.

The mission of Destination Imagination is “to teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world.”

Freshmen Diyala Beva, Sneha Ramesh, Divya Raghunathan and Aabia Hasan make up the team. Between classwork, other extracurricular activities and April break, they only had a month to prepare, after winning first place in the same category at the state competition held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute March 24.

The girls started meeting last fall when they became familiar with this year’s challenge. Then, after brainstorming, they created their script, built their cache and prop.

The first round of competition – regionals – took place on March 3 at Ayer-Shirley Regional High School. They won first place as well as the DaVinci Award for creativity, courage and originality. They then advanced to the state competition and ultimately Global finals, where more than 17,000 students from more than 15 countries compete.

Ground zero for Global prep was Aabia’s house where the door was always open and the girls came and went. Snacks and hot cocoa were flowing and, of course, there were iced lattes.

“We survived on iced lattes and that’s how we got a lot of things done and how we stayed up late,” Aabia said.

This year was a “wild ride,” according to Divya. The challenge that they had to complete was a community service project that included a skit and a box with various props to use in the skit.

Sneha described the theme of their skit as poverty versus prosperity. In it, the group operated a store to help underprivileged kids, making Christmas presents for them. The premise was to overcome poverty and its effects.

Winning first place at the Global event caps years of involvement with DI. Aabia and Sneha plan to manage siblings’ teams next year, while Divya hopes to be an appraiser. This was Diyala’s first year but she definitely wants to stay involved with DI.

The girls shared that their mission now is to spread the word about Destination Imagination and to get more kids involved.