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All Aboard for Destination Imagination


All Aboard for Destination Imagination
All Aboard for Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination is a program & competition dedicated to teaching students critical thinking through STEM, arts, and social entrepreneurship.

HCA offers programs that meet the academic needs of all students. Since 2012, HCA has offered a Gifted & Talented program that allows students to develop their skills for critical thinking and actively engage them in team activities. These activities promote collaboration while recognizing the unique gifts of each student. There are currently 55 students in grades 2-12 that participate in this learning enrichment program. These students also participate in local, domestic, and global competitions designed to solve various problems people encounter every day. We recently interviewed the lead teacher for this program, Mrs. Amanda Walls.

When did the Gifted & Talented program begin at HCA?

In 2012, God laid on my heart that there was a need at HCA to meet the social, emotional and educational needs of students who exhibit academic gifts and talents. After much prayer and meeting with administration, the HCA Learning Enrichment program was created to meet the needs of all students at HCA through Academic Support and Gifted & Talented. We began with 19 students in grades 1-6. In 2014, we included Middle School, and in 2016, we expanded to include high school as part of the Honors Academic Team. Currently, 55 students benefit from the program in grades 2-12.

What benefits does a Gifted & Talented program bring to HCA?

Gifted students are often a population of kids whose social and emotional needs go unmet. The G/T program provides an environment where students are challenged through creative problem solving, critical thinking, relationship building and working collaboratively towards solutions to unique problems that do not have a "quick" or "easy" answer. At the same time, they are learning how to work with a team, identify and value individual strengths in themselves and others, and showcase each person's individuality. In class, students have the environment to be creative, try new things, learn how to fail with grace and try again or take a different path to solve the problem.

In addition, each level of competition is an opportunity for our students to be ambassadors for Christ in an area that is not based on faith. For example, last year after competition, we were asked to host an event for Mid-Cities Destination Imagination because the officials said, "we noticed there was something different about your students."

"BE THE LIGHT" is what HCA will be adopting as our theme for this year at competition! As stated in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to the Father who is in heaven." The students have been preparing "Good Works" because we desire to give glory to God at competition. When we compete at Destination Imagination, we get to "BE THE LIGHT" and share the love of Christ. I am already prayerful and expectant to see what God will do within and through all 55 of our HCA students as we compete and "BE THE LIGHT."

What is Destination Imagination?

Destination Imagination is a program & competition dedicated to teaching students the skills needed to succeed in school, their future careers and beyond. We develop project-based learning programs that blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship.

Through our program, students use the creative process to turn their ideas into reality and learn valuable skills through the process including:

  • Creative & Critical Thinking
  • Team Building
  • Problem Solving
  • Risk Taking
  • Project Management
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Confidence

Have our students been successful? Tell us about that success.

Yes! We have received many rewards both personally and through competition. Scroll to bottom of article to see all of the competition results.

How do we compare to other schools our size & in our area?

We compete in the Mid-Cities Regional Destination Imagination against schools from Birdville ISD, Keller ISD, Arlington ISD, and Irving ISD. We are the smallest school to compete, but we are one of the schools with the highest number of teams competing. In 2018, 4 teams from the Mid-Cities Region qualified for Global Finals, 2 of those were from HCA.

Tell us about your upcoming regional competition.

This year our regional competition is on February 9, at Birdville High School.

How can we support our students? Do you need any volunteers to chaperone/ judge?

YES! Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization that is run because of volunteers. At each competition, volunteer appraisers are provided by each team after being recruited. This year HCA needs 13 appraisers! An appraiser gets to spend their day watching different teams in the region present a solution to the challenge in their own creative way. The job of an appraiser is to PRAISE all the good things they see, as well as score each required element of the challenge. Appraisers attend a half day training on 1/26 and are at the competition on 2/9. Anyone interest in appraising can register here https://midcities.txdi.org/newappraiser

What is at stake? How do you advance?

Students in grades 3-12 are competing for the opportunity to advance to the State Level of competition which will be held in Corpus Christi March 22-23. Only teams who place 1st place in their challenge are able to advance to the next level. At the state competition, students compete against 19 other teams from the state of Texas for the chance to advance to Global Finals where they compete against 8,000 students from 15 countries around the world.

Do our teams need financial assistance?

YES! In order to compete at the Regional Level, each team must purchase a team registration and an entrance fee to the competition. Just for the regional competition, it cost $250 per team. Teams that advance to State and Global Finals will have to register again, pay travel expenses, as well as supplies.

Year-to-Year Program Success & Growth


  • 1 Team advanced to State
  • 19 Students/ 1-6 Grade
  • 1 team advanced to state
  • Regional Competition:
  • 3rd Grade - 2nd Place (Advanced to State)
  • 5/6th - 2nd Place
  • 2nd grade - 3rd Place


  • 29 Students / 1-6 Grade
  • 6th Grade - 6th Place
  • 3rd Grade - 4th Place
  • 2nd Grade - 4th place


  • 2 Teams advanced to state
  • 30 Students/ 1-6 Grade
  • 3rd Grade - 4th Place
  • 5th Grade - 3rd Place
  • 4th Grade - 1st Place (Advanced to State)
  • 6th Grade - 1st Place (Advanced to State)


  • 36 Students/ 2-8 Grade
  • 6th Grade - 3rd Place
  • 4th Grade - 6th Place
  • 7th Grade - 4th Place
  • 8th Grade - 2nd Place


  • 1 Team advanced to State
  • 49 Students/ 1-11th Grades
  • 8th Grade - 2nd Place
  • 4th Grade - 6th Place
  • High School - 6th Place
  • High School - 1st Place (Advanced to State)
  • 3rd Grade - 4th Place
  • 5th Grade - 3rd Place
  • 6th Grade - 2nd Place


  • 5 Teams advanced to State
  • 2 Teams advanced to Globals
  • 2 Teams placed in Top 15 in the world at Globals
  • 55 Students/ 2-12th Grade
  • 5th Grade - 5th Place
  • 6th Grade - 1st Place (Advanced to State)
  • High School - 1st Place (6th Place at State, advanced to Globals, 12th place at Globals)
  • High School - 2nd Place
  • 7/8th Grade - 1st (Advanced to State)
  • 7/8th Grade - 2nd (8th place at state, advanced to Globals, 9th place at Globals)
  • High School - 2nd Place
  • 6th Grade - 5th Place
  • High School - 1st Place (Advanced to State)


  • 54 Students/ 2-12th Grade competed on February 9th at Regional Competition at Birdville High School trying to advance to State in Corpus Christi and Global Finals in Kansas City, Missouri in May.
  • We compete in the mid-cities district which is one of the largest and most competitive districts in the state.

    • Out of our teams that could place we scored in the top 4 in every challenge!

    • Out of 6 categories 4 of our high school teams scored the highest instant challenge score.
  • 7 teams Advanced to State & 1 team Advanced to GLOBALS
  • 3rd/4th grade combination team - 3rd place
  • 5th grade - 1st place: highest instant challenge score: Advanced to State
  • 6th grade - 4th place
  • 7th grade - 1st place: Advanced to State
  • 8th grade - 1st place: Advanced to State
  • High school team "Escape Artists" - 1st place: highest instant challenge score: Advanced to State, Advanced to Globals & earned 4th Place!
  • HS team "Game On" - 3rd place
  • HS team "Monster Effects" - 2nd place
  • HS team "Medical Mystery" - 1st place: highest instant challenge score: Advanced to State
  • HS team "On Target" - 1st place: highest instant challenge score: Advanced to State
  • HS team "Heads Up" - 1st place: highest instant challenge score: Advanced to State