May 09, 2012 - After sending eight teams to the Destination ImagiNation (DI) Regional tournament at Central University, Five teams from St. Joseph School are going on to the Global Finals in Tennessee, May 22-26.
St. Joesph School is sending five teams to Desitnation ImagiNation Global Finals. Photo by T. Keiser (click for larger version)
"This is the eight year in a row St. Joseph has earned a trip to the global finals," said Coach Tom Eisbrenner. "We got five teams going and that's never happened in Michigan before. Looking back at the past 9 years, I don't see any school/organization that had more than three teams qualify."
"Destination ImagiNation (DI) is an extraordinary program in which students work in teams of seven students to solve mind-bending, complex challenges centered on creativity, problem solving, collaboration and thinking way outside the box. Participants, research and use elements of science, culture, technology, performance, community service, engineering and more to create their solutions, all without the interference of meddling adults.
"What the kids learn and what they pick up is pretty amazing, it's a combination of problem solving, team building, team work and creativity," Eisbrenner said. "You put all of those things together and they're learning lessons and learning things they're going to apply their whole lives. It's really interesting to watch them."
He and his wife Holly have seen it in their own daughters as well as received comments from teachers and other parents.
"It's taking an idea and building on the idea, that's the key," Holly said. "They don't just look at an idea and say 'nope that won't work.' They have to look at the idea that's presented and say 'Ok how can we make it better' and really negotiate through the whole process."
St. Joseph's Principal Sister Theresa Darga said she is so proud of all the students and has really seen the program grow.
"To send five teams I think is absolutely phenomenal," she said. "I always tell them to do their best and have a good time doing it because it's a wonderful opportunity."
Mary Beth Eisbrenner said she was really happy when her team won at Regionals.
"It meant I had a good chance of going to globals," she said. "And I have more time to do what I like to do."
Teammate Daniel Hauschele says he thinks they're ready.
"I feel pretty confident we're going to get a pretty good placing," he said.
Fifth grader Elliot Johnson said it's his first time and he's excited.
"I've never been to globals and I'd like to see something new," he said.
First timer, Ricky Johnson agreed.
"I've worked really hard for it over the past six, seven years that I've done DI," he said. "We've come very close a number of times off by .8 of a point, but this time it really paid off. I'm just really happy."
Veteran Molly Galvin has gone to globals twice and says she loves it.
"I just love seeing all the other countries just coming together to do one thing," she said. "It's fun."
Paul Heuschele went two years ago, but missed going last year, but made it in by a wild card this year.
"We got third place, we missed going by half a point and we got invited," he said. "It's fun and now we can enjoy ourselves."
The teams are now working to raise the $25,000 required ($665 per student) for all five teams to attend the global competition through can drives, flower sales and other events. In addition, the teams are searching for corporate sponsors and hoping to receive tax-deductible pledges from interested donors, which can be submitted online at https://stjosephlakeorion.ejoinme.org/supportdi, or sent to St. Joseph School at 703 N. Lapeer Rd., Lake Orion, MI 48362, or by calling 248-693-6215.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.