Four St. Joseph Catholic School teams, three elementary and one middle school, competed with over 75 teams at the Destination Imagination Tournament in Bossier City on March 3. The SJS middle school team (pictured right) won first place in the Technical division, earning an invitation to compete at the Globals competition in Knoxville, TN in May. The Super Seven, as the SJS middle school Technical team named itself, also earned a Renaissance Award for exceeding the judges expectations and for finding a unique solution to their problem. The SJS elementary Technical team won second place in their division and the elementary Science team won first place in the instant challenge portion of the competition.
The Destination Imagination Challenge Program is a hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, curiosity, and courage through academic Challenges. The Challenges blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship. The student teams choose a category and spend months preparing their solution to open-ended STEM, arts and service learning Challenges. Destination Imagination is unique because teams must be 100% student-led; all ideas, props, and solutions must be authentic student work. This forces students to cooperate, stay focused, and learn to work together within the parameters of the Challenge.
Chris George, SJS parent and middle school team manager, appreciates that adult volunteers can supervise but not interfere in the Destination Imagination program. “The DI program is fundamentally about tasking children with creative problem solving. The children are completely responsible for their solution without the aid of adults. I think it’s important to teach these children to solve problems rather than looking to adults to do it.”
Suzanne Harbert, SJS faculty DI sponsor, says, “It is hard not to interfere when you see they are struggling, but then they have a breakthrough and you can just tell…they own that success and if I had interfered they wouldn’t have that feeling. At the end of the day they are able to take complete ownership of the Challenge and that sense of pride is irreplaceable.”
The Super Seven is raising money to fund their trip to Knoxville in May to compete against teams from around the world at the Globals competition. To find out more about Destination Imagination, visit their website at destinationimagination.org.