16,500 Celebrate Destination Imagination’s 30th Anniversary at Global Finals

By: Tina Shaffer

More than 16,000 participants and volunteers gathered in Knoxville, TN from May 22-25 for Global Finals 2013, the world’s largest celebration of creativity. For the 1,247 teams that participated in the event, the road to Global Finals was one that involved an insurmountable amount teamwork, creativity, perseverance, courage and talent.

During the four-day tournament, each team presented their Challenge solution and participated in an open-ended Instant Challenge in one of six categories that incorporated STEM, the arts and service learning. 27 teams from 12 U.S. states and three countries, including China Poland and Canada, received top honors, taking home first place trophies.

“I’m continually amazed by the imaginative and innovative solutions to our Challenges that students demonstrate at Global Finals,” said Dr. Chuck Cadle, Chief Executive Officer of Destination Imagination, Inc. “The 2013 participants truly exemplified the DI mission through their creativity, risk taking and teamwork, and ultimately discovered that learning can be fun.”

In addition to the tournament, Global Finals 2013 featured 24 different exhibits in the Innovation Expo, where participants could enjoy their downtime, play games and interact with other teams from around the world. 3M astonished many of this year’s participants with its Explore the Uncharted Exhibit, which allowed students to race through a simulated underwater adventure and participate in mini-challenges. Some of the other popular exhibitors at this year’s event included NASA, National Geographic, Nascar, ThinkFun, DataWind and CitiBlocs.

Between participating in the tournament and visiting different exhibits, many kids and teens enjoyed an array of fun activities designed specifically for Destination Imagination teams, including the annual 3M Duct Tape Costume Ball, the 3M Passport Party and the 3M Duct Tape Playground. The 3M Duct Tape Playground, which was a new addition to Global Finals, allowed kids, teens and families to spread their creative wings and craft unique objects out of duct tape. Participants also helped construct wall-sized duct tape murals of marine life.

For high school and college seniors, Destination Imagination honored their achievements and bid some of them a happy, heartfelt farewell at the Graduation Ceremony. Many of the graduating class members, including DI Valedictorian, Adele Zawada, will go on to attend top-tiered universities and apply their DI skills and insight to the next chapter in their lives.  

From Opening Ceremony to 3M Explore the Uncharted to Graduation, this year’s Global Finals offered more fun, excitement and activities than any other Global Finals. Destination Imagination is eternally grateful to each and every team member, volunteer, sponsor and exhibitor who aided in making this year’s event such an enormous success.

For those who were not able to attend Global Finals 2013, visit our DI-TV page to watch video highlights. To view photos from Opening / Closing Ceremonies, team Challenges, exhibits and more, click here to visit our SmugMug page.

To view a full list of Global Finals 2013 winners, please visit our Results page.