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Imagination took St. Joe students to Tennessee

Students from St. Joseph school headed to the University of Tennessee for Destination Imagination's global competition. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
June 02, 2010 - Three teams from St. Joseph School headed to Tennessee to compete for national titles. Destination ImagiNation, formerly called Odyssey of the Mind, has students work in teams to solve mind-bending challenges.

The eighth-grade team competing in Do or D.I. placed 22nd out of 68 teams.

Fifth- and sixth-grade girls in You're Gonna Flip! placed 16th out of 80 teams.

And fourth-graders in DIrect DIposit placed 22nd out of 59 teams.

Each of the challenges have designated parameters as well as rules. Destination ImagiNation also known as D.I. helps teach students about teamwork and challenges their creativity. More than 16,000 students from schools in all 50 states and 38 countries competed at the international competition May 26-29 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

A group of St. Joseph fourth graders, called The Amazing Ants, chose the challenge "DIrect DIposit."

The team had to create a story about making a decision, and design and build a machine to deliver objects over a six-foot-tall wall to specific targets that the team could not see. The team researched how ant colonies work and created a humorous story about an absent-minded queen ant ready to lay eggs, a team of support ants working furiously to get the eggs delivered safely into the nests (the targets), and a sneaky ant thief focused on stealing the eggs.

For five months, the team worked hard to create all of their props, costumes, the skit, banners, and, of course, the nine-foot machine that incorporated a conveyor belt and a system of tubes.

The Amazing Ants include team members: K.C. Eisbrenner, Logan Hand, Paul Heuschele, Daniel Nemmert, Thomas Riss, Jack Sielicki and Haley Tuttle. The team is coached by Holly and Tom Eisbrenner.

A middle school team, named the Cuckoo-Clan, is coached by Jeri and Tom Altenberger. They chose the challenge You're Gonna Flip!

They presented an original story dramatizing how a character changes their point of view about something using at least one puppet as a character and creating a piece of live visual art. The talented team set their presentation against a backdrop of a German chocolate factory which turned into a giant cuckoo clock, incorporating German costumes, song and dance.

Team members include Gretchen Altenberger, McKenna Carron, Molly Galvin, Lauren Miller, Rachel Warstler, Taylor Warstler and Lyndsey Welper.

This team will also participate in the International Ambassador program at Globals. The girls have been paired up with another middle school team from Harbin, China. The Cuckoo Clan is in the process of creating a scrapbook to give the Chinese team. The book will include photos of the girls involved in family, school, extracurricular, and community activities. The team will also present their guest team with gifts representing Lake Orion and the state of Michigan.

Typically teams support one another during performance times, hang out together, and attend a few extra events. The St. Joseph girls are looking forward to this multi cultural experience.

The Super Zeros is the team name for a group of eight graders who have been together since kindergarten. Team members include Garrett Altenberger, Nicky Cox, Julia Grenier, Austin Krysmalski, Alaina Ricter, Megan Ward, and Gabe Wrobel.

Their Do or DI presentation won everyone's heart as Charlie Brown and his friends took center stage. The teams challenge has been to improvise a skit about an object that's threatened or near extinction.

Teams draw randomly from lists of elements that must be in their skit, so skits are never the same in the regional, state or global tournaments. Tom and Nancy Wrobel are the coaches and they have been involved with D.I. for the past 17 years.

This eighth-grade team has also been invited to represent Michigan in the Opening Ceremonies for the Global competition. This is an amazing tribute to this dedicated team and their coaches, who have won many DI awards for St. Joseph over the years.

Several fundraising events are taking place in the community to help raise the money that is needed to send these teams to Global competition. Returnable bottles and aluminum cans be dropped off at a collection box at the school entry located at 703 N. Lapeer Road in Lake Orion. These items will be recycled and funds will be used to support the teams. Financial donations are also being accepted by calling the school at 248-693-6215. JD's Key Club, a dueling piano bar, will also host a fundraiser on Saturday, June 5 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $14 or $12 at the school office. JD's is located at 1 North Saginaw in Pontiac .

At this year's Global Finals event, D.I. teams are partnering with Backpacks for Haiti to provide young Haitians with the tools they need to go back to school. Each team is sponsoring a backpack filled with basic school supplies and personal hygiene items. Teams will include photos and personal notes to make a global connection with the Haitian students.

Lake Orion citizens are encouraged to drop any new items in a collection box in the school's front office. Any help and support is greatly appreciated.

- Submitted

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