Saline Team Wins at Destination Imagination Global Finals

 05/31/2017 - 17:27
“The Zurfendurphs,” an all-freshmen Saline High School team, placed 1st in the Instant Challenge Category for the Secondary Level Scientific Challenge at the Destination Imagination Global Finals. Front row: Zach Rein and Kyle Schnitzer. Back row: Cameron White, Ryan Schwartz and Connor Wright. Their Team Manager is Jennifer Schwartz.

After achieving honors for creativity, teamwork and innovation in regional and state academic tournaments, four Saline Destination Imagination “DI” teams competed in DI Global Finals, the world’s largest celebration of student creativity on May 24-27, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

This year 150,000 Destination Imagination students have participated in tournaments throughout the U.S. and over 30 countries in hopes of earning a spot at the Global Finals competition.

"Destination Imagination is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization that inspires and equips students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders," said Ginger Liemohn, Program Coordinator of Saline DI.  “One of the key distinctions about this student-led creativity program is the ‘No Interference Policy’ that members, families, and Team Managers sign at the beginning of each season.  The Team Challenge Solution is solely the creation of the team members involved without outside influence.  This enables the team to try bold solutions through a trial-and-error process repeated many times during the Oct-Mar season.  The fact that Saline DI consistently has 1-2 teams a year that qualify for Global Finals is a testament to the intelligence and grit of our Saline Area School students.  This year we had an unprecedented 4 teams qualify, and three of them placed in the top 10 of their category...they made Saline DI history!”

This year the four Global-bound Saline DI teams chose either the Technical or Scientific Challenge to compete in, as well as solving an Instant Challenge to be solved in fewer than five minutes with no prior knowledge of what they would be solving.  These Team Challenges are two of seven, open-ended challenges that require students to apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, in addition to their talents in improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork, community service and social entrepreneurship.

“The Zurfendurphs,” an all-freshmen Saline High School team, placed 1st in the Instant Challenge Category for the Secondary Level Scientific Challenge.  This is the first year for many of their team members to be on a DI team, so this team had an amazing performance at Global Finals.  They were the only Saline DI team that received an award on the Globals stage.


Front row: Zach Rein, Kyle Schnitzer

Back row: Cameron White, Ryan Schwartz, Connor Wright

Their Team Manager is Jennifer Schwartz.

The team placed 20th in their Team Challenge.

The Scientific Challenge they addressed was described as follows:

  • Create and present a story about a secret mission.
  • Research and apply methods from cryptography and steganography to reveal secret messages.
  • Design and create a gadget that appears to be an everyday item.
  • Create and integrate a disguised character into the story.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.

An all-Junior Saline DI team from Saline High School, calling themselves “The Duct Apez”, took 3rd place in the Instant Challenge for the Secondary Level Technical Challenge.  The team, managed by Ginger Liemohn has been competing together for the last three years.


Pictured: Tyler Kudlak, Jaron Stacey, Derek Liemohn, Alex Mah


This team chose to do the Technical Challenge.

  • Present a show that includes an opening act and a headlining act.
  • Design and build a stage on which the acts will take place and that will move a team member from one location to another.
  • Enhance each act with a technical effect to amaze the audience.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interest, skills, areas of strength, and talents.

The Duct Apez placed 23rd at the international tournament among the Secondary Technical Challenge Level.

A Saline Middle School team, who named themselves “The Conundrums”, competed in the Scientific Team Challenge.


Pictured: Noah Pelletier, Noah Socha, Ammon Stacey, Nathan Mah, Elijah Gray, Luke Crowner, Joseph Fedoronko.

Team Managers: Kali Stacey and Lena Mah

This team placed 6th in the Middle Level Scientific Challenge by building a “code breaker” to solve a real-time code given to them during their 8-minute presentation. This team had also received the DaVinci Award at Regional Tournament for their creative story set in an alphabet factory.

“The International Team of Mystery”, a Secondary Level Scientific Challenge Team all from Saline High School, placed 34th in their competitive level. Their solution involved decoding a secret message with a color sensing Arduino in their hunt to stop Professor Sigfried from making the world speak in haiku.


Pictured: Roslyn Staples, Jason Coleman, Nishan Bhattacharyya, Noah Walters, and Jared Webb
Team Managers: Rob Coleman and Angela Staples

“The Destination Imagination program is a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage, and curiosity,” said Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination Imagination. “Quantitative reasoning, collaborative problem solving, risk taking, collaboration, presentations and thinking on your feet are some of the important skills learned in the program.”

Destination Imagination is a leader in project-based learning opportunities that blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship. Its academic challenges are designed to teach kids how to think, not what to think, and then to present their solutions at regional and state tournaments.

Each year, DI competitions begin with a regional tournament, where team solutions are assessed by a panel of trained appraisers, ranging from educators to artists to engineers. Each team solution is scored on a variety of elements, including originality, workmanship, presentation, and teamwork. Teams with the highest scores advance to the Affiliate (state or country) tournaments. The top-tiered teams from the Affiliate tournaments advance to Global Finals.

Destination Imagination, Inc. dedicates itself to enriching the global community by providing opportunities for learners of all ages to explore and discover using the creative process from imagination to innovation.

For more information about Global Finals, visit For more information about Saline DI, visit


About Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) volunteer-led non-profit organization whose purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. The most popular education offering is the Challenge Program, where student teams solve open-ended STEAM, and service learning Challenges and present their solutions to trained Appraisers. Founded in 1982, Destination Imagination has impacted more than 1.5 million students. To learn more, please visit


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David Rhoads's picture

Congratulations to all the members and coaches of the Saline DI teams, an amazing accomplishment.