St. Bernard students explore imaginative destinations
Team finishes first in regional and ninth in state competitions
By Sarah Malcore
Seven students in grades 3-7 at St. Bernard School, Green Bay, have shown how "thinking outside the box" can take people to an imaginative destination.
The students finished first in regional competition for Destination Imagination - formerly known Odyssey of the Mind - and ninth out of 14 teams in state competition in Stevens Point.
"Our group was very dedicated, and everyone did their part," said Mary Lenss, team coach and kindergarten teacher at St. Bernard.
Not only was St. Bernard the only parochial school in the regional competition, it went against schools with teams that included eighth graders, Lenss said. There were other parochial schools at state.
"It was nice to see more parochial schools getting involved in these kinds of events throughout the state," said Lenss. And she was pleased with her own students' performance. "For such a young team, they did excellent, and should be commended for making it to state."
Destination Imagination is an extra curricular creative imagination problem solving activity. A team is given a problem, which it solves through creative and critical thinking.
The team started in October, and practiced two mornings a week before school.
The problem St. Bernard's team tackled was called 'Dynamic Improv.' The team had to memorize information about 12 innovators, 12 historical landmarks, and 12 cultural performers. At the competition, each team rolled a die and by chance got one from each category, which teams used to deal with their problem.
Because they did not know which ones they would be dealing with at the competition, they needed to know all they could about all 36 items - and they did, Lenss said.
"The students drilled each other, and they knew the information inside and out. They did quite a bit of research to have all the information they could."
For their regional competition, their innovator was Charlie Chaplain, cultural performer was Raggal Singer, and the landmark was Stonehenge. The activity of the innovator was to pace back and forth.
For the state competition, the innovator was Sacajawea, cultural performer was Rodeo Rider, landmark was the Eiffel Tower. The activity of the innovator was to groom a pet.
Teams also had duct tape, fabric, socks, a broom, a box, an embroidery hoop, rope, pie pans, and a sheet of tag board to use as props for a skit they would improve and act out using the three subjects they got by rolling the die.
As an added challenge, two minutes before teams performed their skits, they were given a turn of events as an added twist to work into their skits. At regional, the turn of events was that the beach ball they were playing with burst, and little beach balls fell all over. The turn of events at state was that the pet Sacajawea was grooming was a worm.
"I had a great time this year in DI," said Jenna Grossardt, a 5th grader at St. Bernard. "It was a great experience for me during practices and during school. It helped me 'think on my feet.' We had a large age span, 3rd grade to 7th grade. This helped me get along with different types of people. Our team worked well with each other."
Jessie Vandenhouten, also a 5th grader at St. Bernard, said, "Our coaches prepared us well but at the same time we didn't know what was in store for us. It was a great experience, I think everyone should consider being in Destination Imagination. It is a great way to meet new people and learn to get along. I liked it so much my first year, I decided to do it again."
Members of St. Bernard's team say they are looking forward to participating again next school year.