The Niles Middle School Destination Imagination Team, The Majestic Milkshakes, were shaking with excitement when their names were announced as third place winners at the global finals held last month in Knoxville, Tenn.
After winning first place at the regional competition held March 17 at Youngstown State University and another first place at the state competition held April 21 at Mount Vernon, the team held fundraisers to help pay for their trip to the global competition held May 23 to 26 at the University of Tennessee.
''They put the names of the fourth through 10th place winners on the big screen in the arena, and we were hoping to see Niles Middle School on that screen,'' said Niles schools DI coordinator Beverly Begalla.
Special to The Niles Times
The Niles Middle School Destination Team, The Majestic Milkshakes, were third place winners in the Destination Imagination Global Finals at the competition May 23 to 26 in Knoxville, Tenn. The team competed against 78 teams in the Challenge D “News to Me” competition in the middle school division and approximately 450 teams in the entire competition in the middle school division. Pictured celebrating backstage following their win from left are: Sara Glassmeyer, 11; Kaylee Scarnati, 14; Alexandria Prox, 14; Anastacia Prox, 13; Caitlin Seifert, 13; Amber Nestor, 13; DI coach, Jennifer Prox; and Niles schools DI coordinator, Beverly Begalla.
''When that didn't happen we were disappointed, but only for a minute or two because then we heard the third place winners, '"Niles City Schools, Niles Middle School, the Majestic Milkshakes, Niles Ohio"', the girls turned to me with a look of surprise and elation on their faces.''
According to knoxnews.com, from the Knox News Sentinel, a total of 1,275 teams from 12 countries, seven Canadian provinces and 45 states were presented with seven challenges each. The challenges included problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and teamwork.
This is the 12th year the competition has been held at the University of Tennessee and the fifth year that a team from Niles has gone on to represent Ohio in the global competition.
''We've never made it on the world stage before,'' Begalla said. ''The best Niles has ever finished was 14th, and we were hoping to top that this year.''
Global finals has always been an incredible experiences for all participants, Begalla said. There are fun filled and educational activities every day. The team spent most of their free time visiting and trading pins with teams from all over the United States and many countries. Pin trading is a big deal at the four day event because each state and country has unique pins that represent the different teams and affiliate.
Begalla said the Niles team favorites were the pins and trinkets from Guatamala, which are handcrafted from tiny glass beads.
''I especially enjoyed talking with the teams from Poland and my students enjoyed South Korea, Mexico and China, just to name a few,'' she said.
The closing ceremony, held May 26, was held in the university's Thompson Boling Arena and not only included the awards ceremony, but also included a laser show and fireworks.
Judges selected 80 teams as top finishers in six different challenges with age groups ranging from elementary to university level students, Begalla said. Niles participated in Challenge D "News to Me.'' There were 78 teams in the middle school division and more than 450 middle school teams in the entire competition.
After they were announced as winners, each team member took the stage to be congratulated by the world staff and receive a third place medal. The team also was awarded a trophy and medal to display in the school's trophy case.