Destination Imagination; encouraging students to explore their creativity
BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Metro Source | September 30, 2013
Students in the Clarence School District have the opportunity to explore their imagination and think outside the box by joining Destination Imagination.
Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization that challenges students in elementary, middle and high school to be creative, while working as a team to reach solutions.
Jon Brennan, president of Clarence DI and high school team manager, is encouraging students and their families to come to the Clarence DI’s Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30 at the Clarence Library.
Brennan got involved with DI when his daughter was in third grade and showed interest. At the time, DI was in need of team members and team managers. Now as all three of his daughters go through the Clarence Schools, they’re part of their own DI teams and Brennan manages a high school team.
“I’ve seen my kids develop skills that they would’ve never had the opportunity to do,” said Brennan, adding that his oldest daughter used to be shy and is now the first to stand up and speak in class. “All of that is due to DI.”
DI has two aspects. First, each team accepts a challenge that they will work on throughout the year and present at the regional competition in March. Then, at the competition they also participate in instant challenges where they are given a problem to solve on the spot.
The students are pushed to work as a team and come up with a creative solution to their challenges.
“That’s one of the great things about this program is that it exposes the students to things that they may not have time to do in school,” said Brennan. “You learn team dynamics and it’s just an amazing, amazing thing.”
Students and parents can come to the open house, learn more about DI, participate in challenges and sign up if they’re interested. Teams will be formed in October and that’s when work on the first challenge begins. Each team meets about once each week. As the competition nears, teams will meet more often to work on their projects and practice for the regional competition. Winners of the regional competition move on the state competition. Those winners then compete in the global competition.
Last year, a Clarence elementary team made it to the global competition. While Brennan hopes to see this team return this year, he hopes to see even more teams join.
“I’m a business person and I meet people as adults that have difficulties working with other adults with problem solving,” he said. “The fascinating thing about this program is that it takes the skills that these kids are learning in school and allows them to solve a problem as a team.”