Destination ImagiNation team heading to Global Finals

The Seven Amigos perform their skit before their schoolmates at Turtle Creek Elementary School. All three teams from the school performed. Click the pic to see images in our gallery. 

DELAVAN — Four Delavan-Darien Destination ImagiNation teams participated at the state competition with more than 250 other state teams at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Saturday, April 12. One of the Delavan-Darien teams is moving on to the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals scheduled for May 21-24 in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Seven Amigos, coached by Turtle Creek Elementary School teachers Michelle Turner and Eilzabeth Calhoun, placed fourth in the state competition in the “Laugh ART Loud” fine arts category. The top three teams usually advance to the Global Finals, but with one team unable to participate, The Seven Amigos team was awarded the opportunity.

“We are extremely proud of our students and the work they put into their performance,” Turner said. “We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to participate at Globals with thousands of other talented students from across the country and across the world.”

The students on the team are first grader Drew Calhoun, third graders Isabel Calhoun and Ashton Flores, fourth graders Nathally Hernandez and Marissa Torres-Raby, and fifth graders Camden Dufer and Miguel Rodriguez. It will be the first time a Delavan-Darien team has advanced to the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals since 2002.

“This is a great honor not only for the students and coaches involved, but also for the community,” said Michelle Gardner, DI coordinator for the district. “It is a testament to the talent and skills found in our young students.”

The team’s challenge at the state meet was to flex their acting and artistic muscles as they explored international works of art. The team created comic strips and an “ARTifact” that was inspired by the work of art studied. The comics were then used in the team’s skit.

The team will continue to refine its props and practice its skit as it prepares for Globals, which has teams coming in from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and a total of 13 countries. In addition, the DI members and their coaches will be fundraising in order to support the costs of the competition along with expenses for travel and accommodations.

Three other teams from Delavan-Darien had successful state meet experiences and will be cheering on The Seven Amigos.

Team K-otix gets ready to perform its skit.

The K-otix team placed fourth overall in the “Pande-Monium” category, and took second place in the Instant Challenge at the state meet. K-otix comprised of Turtle Creek Elementary School fifth graders Gwen Achenson, Hailey Flores, Juliana Huerta, Francheska Sandoval, Anna Sorg and Breanna Yartey, and fourth grader Sofia Seitz. The team is coached by Renee and Kof Yartey.

Their challenge was all about spontaneity and storytelling. The team had just five minutes to create a skit with their four randomly chosen improvisational elements:  a nurse from 1900-1928, along with a modern day horse riding trainer, had to deal with their team fighting off bullies while having one team member wear doll makeup.

Team Go with the Flo placed 12th at state in the science challenge “Going to Extremes.” The team consisted of Turtle Creek fifth graders Faith Rothkapf and Juan Ruiz Jr., third graders Gracie Yartey, Isaias Cardona, and Kyra Wolworth, and first grader Kylene Yartey. Their coaches were Jessica Hack and Michelle and Ray Gardner.

Members of Team Go With The Flow in their underwater environment.

Students had to research and depict an extreme environment. The team created a “blue hole” environment using PVC and curtains, which were decorated with netting, fish, coral and stalactites. They also created a mechanical mermaid tail that was needed for one of their characters to adapt to the extreme conditions. In addition, the team made a video and designed and sewed mermaid costumes for their skit.

Lastly, the Phoenix Comets placed 14th at state. This improvisational team in the Pande-Monium challenge was made up of Phoenix Middle School students including eighth graders Briahna Cardenas, Hailey Stirmel and Megan Roum, seventh graders Caleb Reshkus and Litzy Barajas, and sixth graders Marlee Hartleib and Savannah Perkins. They were coached by David Block.

This team also had five minutes to create a skit with four randomly chosen improv elements: a pop star from 1929 to 1979 along with a modern day music composer had to deal with their team jumping over lit candles while having one team member wear clown makeup.

Congratulations to all the Delavan-Darien Destination ImagiNation teams!


How to Help

The Seven Amigos are planning fundraisers to pay their way to the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn.

To contribute to the Delavan-Darien Destination ImagiNation Global Finals Fund or to the Delavan-Darien DI General Fund, please contact the Community Bank in Delavan.


About Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Cherry Hill, NJ. The mission of Destination Imagination is to develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity.  The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.  For more information, please visit


About Global Finals

For more information about the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals 2014, visit: Organizers expect Global Finals 2014 to be the in history. More than 1,300 of this season’s highest scoring teams are scheduled to attend. That’s more than 16,000 students. The scheduled festivities include the Destination Imagination Tournament, creative and interactive exhibitions in the Innovation EXPO, the International Passport Party and a rainforest themed 3M Explore the Uncharted Challenge. The Welcome Ceremony will include exciting performances by America’s Got Talent finalist David Garibaldi, as well as Season 12 American Idol star Rachel Hale.


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