Posted: Jun 11, 2012 at 5:11 PM [Jun 11, 2012]
On May 23rd through May 26th, 1,276 teams from 45 states, 7 Canadian provinces and 13 countries gathered in Knoxville, Tennessee for the Destination Imagination Global Finals Tournament. Of the 38 Michigan teams competing at Global Finals only 2 teams placed in the top 3 of their selected challenges. One of those teams was a group of Saline High School students known as “The Final Chapter”, made up of 2 pairs of brothers: Tate and Ian Burns, and Joseph and David Strobbe.
Destination Imagination (DI) is a national competitive problem solving organization that more than 100,000 young people take part in every year. It was founded more than 25 years ago to foster creativity and problem solving and requires teams of students to combine creativity and analytical skills to come up with innovative ways to solve given challenges, with a minimum of adult guidance. The challenges vary from year to year but involve construction, design, theater arts, science, technology, and/or improvisation, depending on the challenge.
Out of 62 senior level teams, “The Final Chapter” received 1st place for their central challenge and 3rd place overall. They competed in the challenge called “The Solar Stage” which required them to research solar energy, build a solar prototype and devise a story about using solar energy. It also allowed teams to turn off the lights and perform in the dark.
As David noted, “We wanted our performance to be epically unique, so we did the entire skit using black light silhouettes with no talking except for narration” that was previously recorded, set to music, and precisely timed to match the silhouettes.
“We wanted to move away from the traditional DI skits: comical skits with flamboyant costumes and scenery,” said Tate. “We tried to go ‘outside the box’ and make a dramatic skit with minimal costumes and props. We knew we were taking a huge risk since we had no idea how the appraisers would respond. Thankfully, the appraisers appreciated out unique solution.”
Not only did they have a top tier finish, they also received a da Vinci Award; the highest award offered, given for a unique approach to a solution and for outstanding creativity. The Appraisers described their performance as: “Simple. Powerful. Visually stunning. This team surprised us all with an array of novel materials that illuminated their mythological story in the dark, including a convincing depiction of a solar-power laser used to carve stones in order to build a temple. The team’s solar research was so seamlessly woven, you were immersed in the story. From the opening second to the final scene, the Appraisers were captivated by the meticulously-timed performance about an angry Sun God and the ingenious Raumaraci people.”
Joy Burns, their team manager, had this to say, “I am so proud of my team! They set a goal of being in the top 3 at the Global tournament and they achieved that. They worked very hard – refining their solution after the regional and state-level tournaments in order to make it the best that it could be – and their efforts were rewarded.”
However, their win was bittersweet since they knew that it would be their last time competing together as a team since Tate will be off to college next year. While David was new to the team this year, Tate, Ian and Joe have been competing together in DI since 2002.
“This year was very special because it wrapped up 10 years of hard work with a very big win,” Joe said. “It was extremely nice to see the results at global finals because, after all, that’s what we shot for each year and to get to go on stage in front of tens of thousands of people to get the trophy is something I will never forget.”
But they all agree that winning at Globals is just icing on the cake, and that momentary recognition does not do justice to how participating in DI has enriched their lives at many levels.
“I have really enjoyed my experience in DI,” Joe said. “DI takes a lot of time but it really forces you to think about problems in new and creative ways which will be very helpful in my future endeavors.” Ian added, “The creativity involved in DI really stretches your brain! It’s fun to work as a team to solve different kinds of problems.”
Saline typically has about 10 teams ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade that compete at the regional and state tournaments every year. Saline DI, a volunteer organization, coordinates the Saline teams and organizes various workshops throughout the year to benefit the teams. Saline DI is currently gearing up for the 2012-2013 season with new teams forming in October that will meet once a week until the Regional Tournament in March, followed by the State Tournament in April. Anyone interested in joining a team or learning more about DI in general can visit the Saline DI website at www.salinedi.org or check us out on Facebook under “Saline DI.” Plus, look for “DI Fridays” offered this summer through Saline Community Education for students in grades K through 8th grade to get a taste of what Destination Imagination is like!