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Enjoying “Country Life” While Studying Together

Team Sister Rivalry, left to right, Alena, Mira, Cordi, and Evie celebrate their first place in the DI State Instant Challenge and look forward to competing in Destination Imagination Nationals in May.

Michelle Zotos’ family was one of the first families to put down roots in Surrey Ridge Estates over forty years ago when it was fields, flowers and open space.

“I remember the old, abandoned farmhouse by the windmill north of Surrey Ridge and Heather Drive that burned down in the early 1980s,” she recalled. “It was fun catching pollywogs in the streams, watching the herd of pronghorns where Lone Tree is now, and seeing the huge brown Surrey Ridge sign with orange lettering that was near the highway.”

Zotos also recollects that the Castle Pines North area was a huge field of purple wildflowers, and the closest King Soopers was at Hampden and I-25. Things sure have changed.

Attending Castle Rock Elementary School that was located in the Cantril and Wilcox buildings, Zotos continued through Douglas County schools in Castle Rock.

After marrying her husband, Eric Wilson, they lived in Littleton but decided in 2007 to move back to the quiet and peaceful open space in Surrey Ridge.

The couple has twin girls, Mira and Alena (12) who are seventh graders at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS). The girls’ interests differ: Mira enjoys pottery, drawing, piano, and is on a competitive rock-climbing team, and Alena plays the flute, is in a local dance company, and will be a yearbook editor next year at RHMS.

Together, the family enjoys playing strategic board games, stand-up paddle boarding, and travel. Competing in Destination Imagination (DI) is top of the list and involves the entire family. Dad, Eric, is the manager of the girls’ team, Sister Rivalry. He also serves on the DI Colorado Board of Directors and mom, Michelle, supports the team through teaching skills and providing snacks – a must at competitions.

Mira and Alena have competed in DI since they were in second grade. At the state tournament this year, the team of four, including two students from Parker, won first place in their division for “Instant Challenge.” Sister Rivalry was even ranked in the top five across all categories and ages at the event, scoring 91 out of a possible
100 points.

In 2018, the team qualified for global finals in engineering, and this May they will return to the global finals in the fine art category in Kansas City, Missouri.

Heading in different directions next school year, Alena returns to 8th grade at RHMS, and Mira is transferring to the STEM School Highlands Ranch. The family looks forward to more challenges for the girls and “living in the country” – the tranquility of Surrey Ridge.

By Patte Smith; photo courtesy of the Zotos family




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