Destination Imagination Headed to State Tournament

Members of the International Rat Society include seniors David Kuang, Claire Weaver, Miranda Desatnik and Lucas Yang.

Courtesy of International Rat Society

Members of the International Rat Society include seniors David Kuang, Claire Weaver, Miranda Desatnik and Lucas Yang.

Destination Imagination (DI) is a global problem-solving competition for students from elementary school to college. 

Students form teams and test their skills in a variety of STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) challenges while developing teamwork and communication skills. 

The BHS DI teams have been together since elementary school.

“When I first joined DI in third grade, I did it because it gave me a wide range of collaboration and problem solving skills,” freshman Shreya Chellu said. “Especially when I joined this team in fourth grade, I learned a bunch of new things [such as] testing a bunch of structures that taught me patience. I had to learn how to collaborate with my teammates. It taught me how to design things and get a project running.” 

“It was always rewarding, in the end, to see that our project worked,” she added.

At the high school level, teams can pick a long-term project from six central challenges, and the team works on their project throughout the year. 

[Destination Imagination] has taught me [many] new things [such as] testing a bunch of structures that taught me patience. I had to learn how to collaborate with my teammates. It taught me how to design things and get a project running.”

— Freshman Shreya Chellu

In addition to a central challenge, teams at competitions are also presented with a random short challenge called the Instant Challenge, which tests their creativity and teamwork on the spot. 

Destination Imagination has three levels of competition—regionals, states, and globals—and on March 5, BHS sent three teams to regionals, held at BHS.


Beachwood’s Destination Imagination Teams

The Happy Group

The Happy Group is made up of five seniors: Bowen Zhang, Zilin Zhang, Tory Yang, Sam Warner, Anwar Sossey Aloui.

Central Challenge: Festival Frenzy (Improvisational)

The Happy Group researched festivals from around the world and improvises a skit at the competition about a character at one of the festivals. To prepare, they practiced improvising skits weekly with a list of ten festivals that they researched.

Fearsome Four

The Fearsome Four is made up of four freshmen: Radha Pareek, Shreya Chellu, Amy Zhou and  Reign Robinson

Central Challenge: For the Future (Service Learning)

The Fearsome Four tackled a real-world problem and incorporated it into a science fiction skit that includes time travel to the future. They focused on bridging the generational gap between the youth and the elderly, especially during the pandemic, setting up trivia games and other activities online. Their skit is about the miracle rings of Ourense, which were rumored to cure any illness, and a character who learns to listen to wise counsel after facing consequences for disregarding a senior’s advice.

International Rat Society

The International Rat Society is made up of four seniors Lucas Yang, Claire Weaver, David Kuang and Miranda Desatnik

Central Challenge: Tricky Tales (Fine Arts)

The International Rat Society had to create a skit about a trickster, create an illusion and have a costume transformation. Their skit is set in a subway car, with magician rat hand puppets and a cat as the main characters.


Beachwood teams have been preparing for regionals all year. Teams met weekly for a few hours, and leading up to the competition they met multiple times a week, practicing their skits. 

Members of the Fearsome Four estimate that they each put in a few hundred hours preparing for DI.

All their hard work paid off: BHS’s three teams are all going to States on April 2 at Centerville High School. When asked about why they like DI, all teams listed as going to globals (pre-pandemic) as one of their reasons. In 2019, globals was held in May in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Going to Globals is an indescribable experience,” Pareek said. “Not only are you going to a whole different place, but you get to meet people from different countries, and look at different solutions to the same challenges.” 

In addition to the competition, the teams also love the activities at Globals. One of these activities is pin trading. 

“Each country or state has their own set of pins, and after going to Globals many times, we’ve collected towels and towels full of pins,” Zhou said. 

It’s bittersweet because I’m excited but also sad that this is the last year we are doing DI. I’ve done it since fifth grade, I basically grew up with it and learned a lot about teamwork and problem solving with limited resources.”

— Senior Bowen Zhang

When trading, they get to meet all sorts of people from different places.

“The opening and closing are held in a huge stadium, and people sit by their state or country. There’s also a parade for different countries and states and a ball. It’s always amazing,” members of the Fearsome Four said, speaking over one another.

Unfortunately, this year the team will not be able to attend even if they qualify. The cost is prohibitive, and there is also a schedule conflict with graduation.  

For the senior teams, this will be the last year they will be doing DI. 

“It’s bittersweet because I’m excited but also sad that this is the last year we are doing DI,” senior Bowen Zhang said. “I’ve done it since fifth grade, I basically grew up with it and learned a lot about teamwork and problem solving with limited resources.”

All the teams have endless memories they have made together, and many lessons learned along the way. 

The teammates described all sorts of fun activities they have done while bonding as a team, not only when working on their challenge, but spending time outside of practice together, whether skiing or just eating a bunch of snacks.

Each team is coached by one or two parents.

The Fearsome Four are grateful for the help of their coaches William App and Cuiyu Geng. 

“They are a big help in coordinating our meetings,” Robinson says. 

“Mr. Bill has taught us everything,” Pareek added.