More than 5,500 K-12 students, educators and family members from across Michigan will converge on Central Michigan University and Mount Pleasant Friday and Saturday for the state’s “largest celebration of student creativity.”
During this Destination Imagination state competition, 220 teams involving about 1,600 students will collaborate to solve challenges. They will fill classrooms and hallways in the Bovee University Center, Grawn, Moore, Pearce and Anspach halls, and Rose Center, McGuirk Arena and the Events Center.
Students will travel to CMU from more than 70 school districts statewide — from Detroit to Bad Axe, Grosse Pointe to Ludington, and Yale to Saline to Saginaw.
They will work through assigned challenges involving the sciences, technology, fine arts/theater, improvisation, structure/engineering and service learning/community outreach.
The event will conclude Saturday evening with an awards ceremony in a packed McGuirk Arena. Sixty-five of the teams will advance to the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville this May.
Destination Imagination is the largest CMU event outside of athletics, said Cal Seelye, director of events and conference services.
Ted Grossnickle, director of Michigan’s Affiliate DI Tournament, said the campus environment honors the months of work students put into preparing for the competition.
“DI Global Finals are at the University of Tennessee, and we replicate that experience at CMU,” Grossnickle said. “CMU shows the students their work is important. It’s recognition of how hard these students work.”
Grossnickle earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and leisure services administration from CMU in 2010 and his master’s in educational leadership in 2012.
“Through DI, students learn campus quickly. They feel comfortable and safe at CMU. DI is a confidence-building event — it’s the vehicle we use for leadership development and creating the next generation of innovative thinkers,” Grossnickle said.
Grossnickle is marketing and special events manager for the Huron Valley School District in Oakland County.