Theo Estrada, Highlands Ranch High School

Here is some special information about my experience in DI!

Information about how long I’ve been in DI, the roles I’ve had in DI, the regions I’ve been connected to, etc.:

My “Home Region” = South Metro

I’ve been a DI kid since fourth grade, totaling nine years. I have competed in Global Finals five times, although I’ve qualified six times. My team and I have won 1st place at many regional and state tournaments, as well as earning several special awards. I’ve also volunteered in DI by serving as a team manager for a team of second graders, teaching kids about video editing and animation for a DI summer camp and being a member and contributing to the DI teen leadership committee.

The whole process of starting with a massively open-ended problem and working together as a team to come up with a creative solution is something that I love. Every time we have qualified for Globals my team has worked until the very end. Every year I put in everything I have into making something that I am proud of. From cool costumes, to intricate set pieces, to technically innovative contraptions, and even animations that take over one hundred hours to complete, it was all worth it.

Special memories, experiences, etc. related to my time in DI:

Welcome to the Grand Land of Wonder, a place where any of your dreams can become a reality. That was the setting of my first ever DI story. A fitting beginning for my DI career. Destination Imagination, the place where anything you can think of can come true with teamwork, problem solving, and hard work. I made my very own costume all by myself. I sewed my own vest, cape, and even top hat. It was a magical experience.

Fast forward to 8th grade, I suddenly got struck with a massive amount of inspiration. “Decodables” was born, as the scientific challenge theme was cryptography. I didn’t want to be some boring old character. I wanted to be a robot, to be more specific, an AI. I called him C.I.P.H.E.R. your Computerized Intelligence Programed to Help Everyday Requests. My original idea was to make a giant grid of LED lights, and to have them turn off and on to make an animated face. I worked for over 30 hours to make this work, but in the end something always went wrong. But I didn’t give up! This failure may have brought upon one of my greatest successes of all time. I figured instead of making a face out of lights, why not animate that face? So, I learned animation software in record time for regionals. The making of C.I.P.H.E.R., the failures and successes of it, are some of my most special memories from DI.

My freshman year I took animation even further and made a feature length animation where my entire team completes a Mario level of my own creation, which went on to get an unheard of perfect 30 in our team choice element score.

My sophomore year I found myself without a team, but I couldn’t give! So I scoured to find new team members, but it was almost January. This was the year that I worked the hardest I’ve ever worked in DI, but it was all worth it. We scored 5th place in the world. The whole experience of starting with seemingly nothing and turning it into everything is a special memory.

My junior year we started early, and we were working towards our best solution yet. The experience of being so motivated to do the seemingly impossible was thrilling from start to finish. Unfortunately, my junior year happened to be 2020, but I can still say that this was one of my best years in DI.

DI is what I would call “my thing.” Because of Destination Imagination, I am the person that I am today.

Here are some photos I wanted to share with you about my experience in DI. I hope you enjoy them!

  • Bob Tipton
    Posted at 08:33h, 03 April Reply

    Congratulations, Theo, on your graduation, and thank you for being part of DI!

  • Sara Heisdorffer
    Posted at 12:35h, 03 April Reply

    Theo, thank you! It has been a pleasure to watch your technical prowess grow each year, and I know you’ll keep working and learning and growing. Congratulations and good luck!

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