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Almond Acres Charter Academy to send two teams to Destination Imagination Tournament 

The Elementary Level Team, Team Classified: Ella Gomez, Emily Griffith, Harmony Houdyshell, Stella Ogorsolka, Lucas Vertrees, and Alivia Vogtmann

“Team Classified,” The Elementary Level Team: Ella Gomez, Emily Griffith, Harmony Houdyshell, Stella Ogorsolka, Lucas Vertrees, and Alivia Vogtmann

Almond Acres Charter Academy, or AACA, in San Miguel will be sending two teams to the Destination Imagination State Tournament in Riverside, on Saturday, March 28. This is the first year AACA has participated in the program.

The program is designed to “encourage teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process.”

Currently, Almond Acres Charter Academy is the only school in northern San Luis Obispo County that participates in the program. The school plans to expand the program school-wide over the next few years.

Piloted as an after-school enrichment class, AACA formed an Elementary Level Team and a Middle School Level Team. The Elementary Level Team, “Team Classified,” is made up of the following students: Ella Gomez, Emily Griffith, Harmony Houdyshell, Stella Ogorsolka, Lucas Vertrees, and Alivia Vogtmann, and chose to compete in the Fine Arts Challenge.

The Middle School Team, “Team Phoenix,”  which is made up of students Sam Gomez and Hobie Smith, chose to compete in the Science Challenge. Both teams competed on Saturday, February 21 in the Central Coast Regional Tournament held at Arroyo Grande High School and will be advancing to State (pictured).

The Middle School Team, Team Phoenix:  Sam Gomez and Hobie Smith

“Team Phoenix,” The Middle School Team: Sam Gomez and Hobie Smith

The AACA teams will be joining other Central Coast Region teams at the State Tournament from Harloe Elementary, Grover Beach Elementary, Mesa Middle School, Ventura High School, Fairgrove Elementary, Shell Beach Elementary, Central Coast DI, Saint Patrick’s School, Paulding Middle School, Arroyo Grande DI, Nipomo High School, Nipomo New Tech, and Arroyo Grande High School.

The AACA teams are currently raising funds to cover the cost of their trip to Riverside. To help them in this endeavor, please contact their Team Manager, Jill Ogorsolka at or at (805) 467-2095.

About Destination Imagination

Founded in 1982, Destination Imagination, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, is cause-driven to ready students worldwide for college, career, and life beyond school through opportunities that promote and support creativity, imagination, contextual learning, arts appreciation, STEM-based skills development, and entrepreneurship leading to an engaged and future-ready student population. Learning how and when to be creative, how to build cross-cultural teams, how to manage budgets and risk, how to present a compelling proposal, and how to manage a project from beginning to end will provide students with the necessary skills to become the next generation of problem finders and solvers, innovators, cross-cultural collaborators, entrepreneurs and leaders. To learn more, go to

About Almond Acres Charter Academy

Founded in 2011, Almond Acres Charter Academy provides families in northern SLO County with an additional choice in public education. AACA is a 501(c)(3) public tuition free K-8 school that incorporates a strong core curriculum, arts, technology, character development and service learning into a small class-sized learning environment. AACA employs credentialed teachers and administers state testing. While the school is located in San Miguel, it is open to all students in all communities, without the need of an inter-district transfer or release from their district of residence. AACA students wear uniforms and parents of AACA commit to 60 hours of participation in school programs, activities and services. A bus transports students from Paso Robles both before and after school and is funded by the students riding the bus.

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a member of the California Charter School Association and was founded by a group of parents, educators, and community members. For more information call (805) 467-2095 or visit

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