Destination ImagiNation (DI) is the world’s largest creativity and problem-solving competition and inspires participants in its programs to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions to solve the mind-bending challenges. The students must come up with solutions to the challenges on their own, without adult interference.
Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving. Teams work together for several months to create their solutions to the challenges, which can have theatrical, structural, improvisational, scientific or technical focuses. Teams also learn and practice creative quick-thinking skills for the Instant Challenge portion of the program where they must solve an unknown challenge in 5-8 minutes.
Maharishi School is known world-wide for winning at Global Finals. Every year over one-third of the teams representing Iowa are from Maharishi School. Most other schools offer DI only to students in the gifted and talented programs, whereas any Maharishi School student wanting to participate in the DI program is able to. Mark Wilkins has successfully coordinated the program at Maharishi School for the last 6 years. When asked why Maharishi School students are so successful Mark explains that, “Consciousness-Based education and Transcendental Meditation help the students to expand their creativity, their energy and their coherence." Wilkins adds that the DI program helps students to see "life as full of challenges to be solved, instead of a world fraught with problems. The kids are empowered by discovering new ways to creatively solve challenges."
Three of our alumni -- two college students and a filmmaker -- discuss on the value of Destination ImagiNation in this blog post: Maharishi School Alumni Reflect on Destination ImagiNation.
The Stakland family has excelled at the Destination ImagiNation competition for 10 years. Click to read Maharishi School Family Triumphs at Destination ImagiNation.
In 2005 Maharishi School had a stellar year at the DI Global Finals. Our school brought home 2 first place trophies, 3 second place trophies, and a Renaissance Award. The entire state of California took the same number of awards that year. This is a huge accomplishment for any school let alone a school of our size.
Famous Actors who got their start with DI include Zac Efron, the star of the High School Musical films and Hairspray. Zac’s team competed in the Improvisational Challenge in 2004 for Arroyo Grande High School in Arroyo Grande, Calif. “We had so much fun doing it,” he says, “that we won the worldwide competition… It was crazy.”
Glee star Chris Colfer (who plays Kurt Hummel) got his start doing Destination ImagiNation in Clovis, Calif.
Kenton Duty from the Disney series Shake It Up! and the final episodes of the Lost series, said, “I participated in Destination ImagiNation. Our team really connected. We were together from second grade to fifth grade. We even got to compete at the state tournament – twice!”