St. C. Rolling Thinkers Advance to Destination Imagination’s Global Finals

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — After achieving honors for creativity, teamwork and innovation in regional and state academic tournaments, the St. Clairsville Middle School Destination Imagination team, the Rolling Thinkers, earned the right to compete in Destination Imagination’s Global Finals.

Billed as the world’s largest celebration of student creativity, the event will be held May 24-27 in Knoxville, Tenn. St. Clairsville team members include Marcus Bush, Ella Everson, Rami Padilla, Caleb Keenan, James Muhly and Abbie Fausnaugh.

The Rolling Thinkers will compete with other teams in the Fine Arts Challenge titled “Vanished!” — one of seven, open-ended challenges that require students to apply science, technology, engineering and math skills, in addition to their talents in improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork, community service and social entrepreneurship.

“We are extremely proud of our children for qualifying for back-to-back Global Finals. This is a huge feat,” said DI parent Katie Everson. “Some teams never make it to globals, and we are so excited to return for a second time consecutively to represent St. Clairsville, Ohio, on a global level. We had an amazing experience last year, so the team is even more excited than ever to go to globals. They got to experience, first hand, how incredible it was to be a part of the largest celebration of creativity in the world, so they cannot wait to do it again!”

Everson praised the team of fifth-graders and its managers, Kellie Fausnaugh and Carla Padilla, for their “countless hours of hard work and dedication” to achieve what they have so far.

“We are so proud to represent our great city of St. Clairsville, Belmont County, and the great state of Ohio, in Knoxville, Tenn., at the University of Tennessee next week for the second time in a row,” Everson added. “We will bring our hometown and home state with us as we compete with the world!”

Destination Imagination has had an impact on more than 1.5 million students who have taken part in its creative and academic program. This year, more than 150,000 students have participated in tournaments throughout the United States, as well as 30 countries, in hopes of earning a spot at the Global Finals competition.

The six Rolling Thinkers team members are among 8,000 students representing more than 1,400 teams that have advanced to participate in Global Finals 2017.

“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. “Collaborative problem solving, risk taking, project management and thinking on your feet are just a few of the important skills learned in our program.”

Destination Imagination is a leader in project-based learning opportunities that blends STEM education with the arts and social entrepreneurship. Its academic challenges are student-directed and are designed to teach kids how to think, not what to think. Teams who participate have the opportunity 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 and engineers. Each team’s 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.

“We are always amazed by the bold risks, creativity, perseverance and level of collaboration embodied by the talented student learners who participate in our increasingly competitive international DI Challenge Program,” noted Cadle. “I’m beyond excited to celebrate this season’s finalists and their solutions at the upcoming Global Finals. These are the students that will become the next generation of problem finders, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.”