Saline Students Take 2nd at Destination Imagination Global Finals

 06/08/2016 - 12:18

The all-seventh grade Saline Middle School team, who named themselves “ETAJÉ,” competed May 25-28, 2016 in the Structural Team Challenge and Instant Challenge competition at the Destination Imagination Global Finals at the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, TN.  They are pictured above: (front row) Elise Campbell, (back row) Téa Hajratwala, Emma Boulter, Ava Hajratwala, and Jolie Kretzschmar.  When asked about their experience, ETAJÉ team member, Téa Hajratwala, said, “Global Finals was a great experience I will never forget and I feel that I’ve become a better team member because of it.”  Emma Boulter described the experience of being around 8,000 students from 20 countries as, "Fun and only a little more than slightly chaotic.”

This hard-working Middle Level Structural team earned 2nd place overall in the Instant Challenge, which was 25% of their overall score.  Instant Challenges “ICs” can be performance-based, task-based, or a hybrid, and usually are under five minutes in length. Some Instant Challenges require divergent thinking (“out of the box”) while others emphasize teamwork and convergent thinking.  This portion of the Tournament is secretive in that the team is sequestered away from the public and has no prior knowledge of the Instant Challenge.  At least two team members must participate, and the Team Manager may accompany the team into the IC room but not advise, signal, or communicate with the team in any way.  ETAJÉ’s Global Finals IC required them to drop an egg into team-built structure of materials found in IC competition room: newspaper, chenille sticks, aluminum foil, and craft sticks.  Because their structure allowed the egg to drop from the second highest position possible without breaking, and their creativity and teamwork were exceptional compared to other teams in their category, they placed 2nd overall in the Instant Challenge category. 

Saline DI Program Coordinator, Ginger Liemohn, was thrilled with their performance at Global Finals.  “To my knowledge, this team placed highest in the Instant Challenge category in almost twenty years that Saline DI has been participating in Global Finals.  Our dedicated team of adult volunteer mentors work with all of our Saline DI teams in Instant Challenge throughout the year to prepare them for anything they might encounter in competition.  It’s exciting to see this team compete and win at an international level.  I can see these students excelling at any Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Mathematics ‘STEAM” career they choose.”

ETAJÉ tied for 33rd place out of 88 Middle Level Structural teams.  For their Structural Team Challenge ETAJÉ designed and built a structure made entirely and only from the list of provided materials. The team played the structure as a musical instrument, and then tested its strength by placing weights on it. The team composed and played a musical solo on its structure and told a story with a musical character that had a musical costume. This story had to be integrated with the testing of the Structure. 
 ETAJÉ built their 17.9g-structure from balsa wood and epoxy, and held 190lbs before breaking.  (At MI States, their structure was 45g and held 810 lbs.) Teams score more points if they build an extremely light structure that can withstand the greatest weight.  This Challenge requires STEAM skills such as:

  • Architectural Design
  • Structural Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Material Science
  • Theater Arts
  • Musical Design & Acoustics
  • Budget Management
  • Presentation Skills
  • Project Management
  • Creative and Critical Thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Perseverance

  • Self-Directed Learning

  • Digital Literacy

  • Citizenship Skills

Saline DI Team Manager, Nayan Hajratwala, said “Global Finals inspired the girls with new ideas for future challenges by other teams from around the world.”

The other Saline DI team that competed in Global Finals 2016 was “The Duct Apez,” a SHS team comprised of: Tyler Kudlak, Derek Liemohn, Alex Mah, and Jaron Stacey.  This was the second consecutive year this team qualified for Global Finals.  Their team competed in the Fine Arts Challenge and tied for 37th place out of 81 teams in the Secondary Level competition.  They excelled in their 8-minute skit, but struggled with the difficult task-based IC.  They are already looking forward to the next DI season that begins in the Fall 2016.

For more information on how a K-12th grade student can participate in the next Destination Imagination, go to for more details.

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