HURON — Four Destination Imagination (DI) teams at the Huron School District recently participated in the State Tournament held at Pierre, and one of the engineering based teams, called “Wings of Fire,” took first place and will go to the Global Finals May 22-25 in Kansas City.
The team members of “Wings of Fire” include Aurora Dreyer, Hannah Schoenfelder, Josie Ptak, Nick Florey, TJ Lien and Tyler Cronin. Josh Lien is team manager, and the DI director at Huron School District is Colleen Jensen.
There are eight DI teams throughout the district that range from elementary to high school level. The program is entirely student run, which encourages teams to use their own initiative and develop leadership skills.
Jensen, with the team managers, are there to help supervise. However, they are not involved with the projects. Team managers in addition to Lien include Leah Gosch, Eh Myee Paw, Bradley Ptak, David Jensen, Callee Bauman Wachter and Sam Castellanos.
In addition, this is the first year for Huron to have an elementary team, “Flaming Tigers,” that qualified for state, which includes students Sebastian Olivo, Josh Olivo, Teegan Lien, Brian Ptak, Tucker Micheel and James Wheeler.
“We are so excited to have elementary teams compete with us and beyond thankful to the team managers for working with the eight teams,” Jensen said.
Students who are involved in Destination Imagination are encouraged to use creative thinking for problem solving, and have the choice between service learning, technology or engineering as the teams’ primary challenge.
“Some of my friends thought it might be fun to give it a try. There are seven different kinds of challenges to choose from,” explained one of the members of Wings of Fire. “We chose the engineering challenge called Monster Effects. We were required to design, build, and test load-bearing structures created from specific materials.”
The Monster Effects challenge consists of designing and building a structure that can support weight without breaking. Then teams are required to test the structure by placing weights and then removing them.
A story must also be created by the teams and presented, in which the sudden appearance of a monster has surprising results. Special effects must also be involved to enhance the sudden appearance of the monster and the events surrounding the monster in the story. Two team-choice elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents must also be incorporated into the challenge.
“The most fun part was building the structure, plus set building and writing the play. It was a lot of fun to be together. We told Mrs. Jensen in the fall we were going to take her to Global Finals and we did,” explained Wings of Fire.
Global Finals is the highest level and the most intense competition in Destination Imagination, teams from 48 states and 38 countries gather together to compete against one another from Wednesday through Saturday, May 22-25, in Kansas City.
“We meet teams from all over the world, trade pins, watch other solutions and take in as many workshops and educational experiences as possible. We are so excited to go and couldn’t do it without the great community we live in,” Jensen said.
Destination Imagination not only is designed to help with regular educational experiences at school, but gives innovative students the opportunity to develop these skills as a team and in a competitive environment.
The Huron K-12 Destination Imagination program also hosts fundraisers throughout the year to assist in costs for participation at tournaments, travel, accommodation, equipment, plus more.