Destination Imagination Focuses on STEM Challenges

Madison Polack, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Destination Imagination (DI), an extra-curricular at NDA, is coordinated by Mrs. Jennie Laaksonen and Mrs. Beth Huntley.

The mission of DI is to develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st Century skills and creativity.

The program is a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of STEM.

Frau Laaksonen said, “STEM is really what DI is all about. It is a way for students to strengthen skills in certain areas while learning the value of working with a team.”

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Participants learn how to cooperate in a group to solve problems while remaining patient, calm and respectful. A team may also showcase its solutions at a tournament.

DI philosophy focuses on NDA having the best chance to be successful and compete. With that being said, DI at NDA does not encourage teams to participate in the same challenge. Students who have competed in a specific challenge here at NDA before will certainly have the opportunity again, but the advisers would prefer to see Tritons not competing against one another.

Many items are considered when it comes to challenges and team member placement to ensure success. Groups are selected based upon students’ skills and whether they have done DI in the past.

Freshman Madie Laaksonen said, “This year will be my sixth year in DI, but it is my first year at NDA. DI is a very important part of my life. Every year is different, but there is always a strong bond among team members.”

She stated that participants in DI connect with each other and are always there for one another. In her opinion, that is one of the most important aspects of DI.

“There is also all the first-hand knowledge you accumulate over the years of DI,” she said, “which you would not normally learn in school, including skills like how to wire batteries, use tools and how to perform and speak in front of many people.”