DI Team Headed to Global Finals in Tennessee


Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

One of NDA’s Destination Imagination teams, Mr. Newman and the Urns, will be heading to Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend to compete in the DI Global Finals.

The team, comprised of freshmen Alana Mencheski, Madeline Laaksonen, Anna Huntley, and Naira Martin Gil, sophomore Lily Schumacher and junior Jack Mickelson, outscored 11 other teams from across the state.

Advisers Jen Laaksonen and Beth Huntley will travel with the team.

Camp MNTU, as the team is affectionately known, took first place at their regional competition at Ashwaubenon High School earlier this year. Teams from all over Wisconsin who took either first or second at their regional competition advanced to State.

Destination Imagination, or DI, is a program that, according to the official Mission Statement, is a “hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning.”

Groups of students, from elementary all the way to college, compete in a Central Challenge, one of their choosing that has been rehearsed and they have prepared for, as well as an Instant Challenge of which they have no prior knowledge. Both of their challenges are judged by a group of appraisers, and the two teams with the highest score from both challenges advance to State.

The challenges available range from Technical, Scientific, and Structural to Improvisational, Fine Arts, and Service/Outreach.

Camp MNTU competed in Challenge B, or the Structural Challenge. This challenge involves building a structure with the highest weight ratio possible, as well as performing a story that incorporates a musical element.

At the State competition, teams perform the same Central Challenge, albeit with a few modifications, but receive an entirely new Instant Challenge.

“At State we performed our skit with a few upgrades from Regionals to our props, background, and costumes,” explained junior Jack Mickelson. “It was rather eventful because our performances were so close that almost immediately after our Main Challenge, we had to run all the way to our Instant Challenge.”

After the performances, Camp MNTU felt unsure about whether or not they earned scores high enough to advance them to Global Finals.

“I thought it had gone by really fast so I was worried that I talked really fast or missed a few lines or something like that,” said Mickelson. “I remember asking Frau how she thought it went and she said that it was a very solid performance. However, I was still really unsure.”

“I knew we did our best in both our Central and Instant Challenges, but I didn’t know how that would compare to anybody else,” said sophomore Lily Schumacher.

Schumacher explains that, since the team had only competed against one opponent at Regionals, she was unsure of how they would stack up against more teams.

“I was just nervous about the Sebastopol team,” recalled Schumacher. “I knew that they’d be good because they have been very good in the past.”

As it turns out, Camp MNTU beat out Sebastopol for first by the narrow margin of three points.

Schumacher regarded it as “the best surprise.” She said the moment of hearing the team’s name called was “so surreal, I thought I must be dreaming.”

“I was at the Saturday play performance when I first received a text from Frau saying that we had gotten first, and then later a phone call from my teammate, Lily. She told me everything and I was so happy that I didn’t even listen to her and just started screaming and jumping,” remembered Mickelson.

Camp MNTU heads to Globals during Finals week, and recently held a bake sale to fundraise for the cost of the trip. They will be competing against teams from all over the world, including second-place Sebastopol.

Mickelson stated, “The thing I’m most excited about is spending time with my team because I am so thankful for them and all their talents that made Globals even possible.”