ESK Team Advances to Destination Imagination’s Global Finals 

After achieving honors for creativity, teamwork and innovation in regional and state academic tournaments, The Episcopal School of Knoxville’s Abyss Adventurers has earned the right to compete in Destination Imagination’s Global Finals, the world’s largest celebration of student creativity, to be held May 24-27 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Team members include fifth graders Pierce Broadhurst, Lauren Davis, Hayden Klappholz and Samuel Mears along with fourth graders Irie Peters, Greta Whitt and Amelia Underwood.

“I am extremely proud of the creativity and team effort shown by our DI kids,” ESK Head of School Jack Talmadge said. “They will all present themselves well as fine ambassadors of ESK and East Tennessee. The Global competition will for certain offer many amazing and inspiring opportunities for these guys, as they witness the innovation from around the world.”

They will compete with other teams in the Technical Challenge, one of seven, open-ended Challenges that require students to apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, in addition to their talents in improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork, community service and social entrepreneurship.

This is an amazing group of students,” Abyss Adventurers coach Jeannie Hoover said. “They have taken every challenge presented to them with great creative energy and ramped it up an extra notch. I am so honored to be their coach on this creative journey.”

The Abyss Adventurers placed first in the state at the Tennessee State Tournament held April 8 at Nolensville High School in Nashville, Tenn., to earn the right to compete at the Global Finals.

“On our team literally no one was expecting we would win,” Mears said. “We knew we had really tough competition and somehow we managed to place first. We are very, very excited to be competing in the Global Finals. I’m really thrilled that we are able to go.”

ESK’s Mer-Keys team had a strong showing in the Fine Arts challenge at the state tournament, but did not qualify to advance. Team members included Ava Brownlie, Emma Carr, Megan Hacker, Calista Stratigeas, Avery Burgess, Lily Egner and Karenna Thurman.

Abyss Adventurers is among more than 8,000 students representing more than 1,400 teams that will advance to 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 blend 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 to engineers. Each team 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.

Destination Imagination, Inc. dedicates itself to enriching the global community by providing opportunities for learners of all ages to explore and discover using the creative process from imagination to innovation.

For more information about Global Finals, visit