Fifteen teams from local schools have advanced to the global finals of the Destination Imagination team challenge, a competition where students research, design and execute a solution to a problem.
All but one of the 15 local teams advancing are from Dayton’s south suburbs — four from Centerville schools, three each from Miamisburg and Oakwood, two from Springboro, and one each from Kettering, Incarnation Catholic School, and Tri-Village in Darke County.
Those 15 teams first had to advance out of a regional tournament, then finished in the top three in the statewide Destination Imagination (DI) competition earlier this month. Cinda Weisgerber, Ohio affiliate director for DI, said Ohio had over 700 teams compete this year, split between elementary, middle and high school levels.
The local students will join about 8,000 others from at least 15 countries to compete at the global finals May 24-27 at the University of Tennessee.
“We are so proud of all of the teams and the hard work and creativity they displayed,” said Miamisburg schools gifted coordinator Haley Moore. “Miamisburg Destination Imagination has had an amazing season so far.”
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The national DI organization releases challenge topics in seven categories — engineering, technical, scientific, fine arts, improvisational, service learning, and the early learning challenge. Student teams generally spend a few months working on their projects under parent and teacher managers before presenting them at tournaments.
The technical challenge called for teams to design and build a stage that can move performers, then present a show featuring an opening act and a headliner, with special effects. The improvisational challenge had teams create three improvisational skits from a single story prompt, presenting each one in a different performance genre with a different stock character and props in each skit.
Five local teams came in first place in their categories and age levels at the state tournament — Springboro Junior High and Miamisburg High School in the scientific challenge, Incarnation Elementary in the fine arts challenge, Miamisburg Middle School in the improvisational challenge, and a Centerville middle school team in the service learning challenge.
A team from Southdale Elementary is Kettering’s first-ever team to reach the global level. Their service learning challenge combined work done earlier — a schoolwide food drive that collected 2,883 items and $157 for a Kettering food pantry — with a fable-style skit about hunger’s impact on the community.
Destination Imagination officials call their tournaments “the ultimate celebration of creativity and innovation,” using project-based learning to teach students problem-solving and perseverance skills needed to succeed in school, careers and life.