Destination Imagination participants

Photo gallery: Destination Imagination

On Saturday, April 13, UW-Green Bay hosted the 2019 Destination Imagination Wisconsin Affiliate Tournament, welcoming about 300 teams, their families and teachers from 10 regions, to campus. Congratulations to Continuing Education and Community Engagement and all the volunteers for being welcoming hosts to about 3,500 guests!

Jason Mathwig, director of camps and conferences, said overall the first-ever DI state tournament here was a success.

“Both the organizers and families had great things to say all day long. I would say that the number one thing we heard was how awesome it was to see all of the UW-Green Bay volunteers/students in the green shirts around campus both outside and inside. They were not only helpful but friendly and welcoming. This goes to show how important it will continue to be to get volunteers for this event. Organizers were extremely happy with the day.”

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Destination Imagination 2019

– Photos by Liesl Sigourney, Marketing and University Communications

UW-Green Bay to host Destination Imagination Wisconsin Affiliate Tournament on Saturday, April 13

Green Bay, Wis. — Thousands of students, teachers and parents are expected on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus Saturday, April 13, 2019, for the 2019 Destination Imagination (DI) Wisconsin Affiliate Tournament.

About 300 student teams, with members ranging in age from 8 to 18, will be competing. Wisconsin Destination Imagination has 10 regions total, and the top teams in those regional competitions have advanced to the April 13 competition. The top two teams from Saturday will advance to the world competition in Kansas City, MO in late-May.

There are three levels of competition: elementary, middle and secondary (high school). Teams have a team challenge (worth 75% of their final score) and an instant challenge (worth 25% of their final score). Many teams have been working on the challenges for months. Challenges begin at 8 a.m. and run approximately every 20 minutes. Drop-off and registration begin at 6:30 a.m. in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall (MAC) and the Kress Events Center. Competition will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with locations varying depending on the type of competition. Events and highlights:

The public and participants are welcome to visit the Creativity Expo in the Dick Bennett Gym of the Kress Evens Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regional organizations, artisans and university groups present a variety of hands-on exhibits for members to continue in the creative process! Opportunities to learn, have fun and engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), problem-solving, creativity and performance are all at the exhibit.

Surf & Turf is an “open-gym” type of experience and will be held in the Turf Room at the Kress Events Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for DI contestants and guests.

The Challenge Extreme Competition will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Kress Events Center’s Arena. The award ceremony will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Kress Center Arena.

About DI
Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Its purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually, DI offers seven new standards-based Challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning and Early Learning. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve the Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, Division I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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Reminder: Volunteers needed for Destination Imagination event on Saturday, April 13

Volunteers are needed for the Destination Imagination (DI) Wisconsin State Tournament on Saturday, April 13, 2019, which will be hosted at UW-Green Bay. DI is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. With 7,000 visitors expected to be on campus for the tournament, volunteers are needed provide visitors with a great experience and welcome them to our beautiful campus. This is a great opportunity to expose our campus to many residents of Wisconsin who might be new to our campus and potential future students. As a volunteer, you will be provided a staff t-shirt and a lunch ticket. Volunteer roles include parking attendants and hallway attendants. Register to volunteer.

Join DI’s Interactive Expo (for free)

UW-Green Bay is hosting the Destination Imagination Wisconsin State Tournament on Saturday, April 13, 2019. As part of the tournament, an Interactive Expo will be held in the Dick Bennett Gym in the Kress Events Center. There is no fee to have a table/both at this event. This is a great opportunity for any UW-Green Bay programs/departments with interactive activities to showcase areas in the form of outreach and recruitment. To sign up or for any questions please contact tournamentinfo@wisconsindi.org.

 See the 2019 WIDI Expo Invitation.

7,000 visitors headed our way for DI, and your help is needed!

UW-Green Bay is hosting the Destination Imagination (DI) Wisconsin State Tournament on Saturday, April 13 of this year. (Volunteers are needed. See below) DI is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Its purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually, DI offers seven new standards-based Challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning and Early Learning. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve the Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths. UW-Green Bay will be hosting the state tournament and organizers expect around 7,000 visitors on that Saturday (this includes kids K-12 and their families). You can learn more about DI here: www.wisconsindi.org.

With 7,000 visitors in one day, please consider volunteering to help them all gain a great experience and to feel welcome to our beautiful campus. Your help is needed to provide a top- notch event. This is a great opportunity to expose the Green Bay campus to many residents of Wisconsin who might be seeing the campus for the first time and especially to potential future students and their families. As a volunteer, you will be provided a staff t-shirt and a lunch ticket. Please sign-up for a volunteer shift here.

Small steps, big impact for UW-Green Bay student Michelle Haapala

Success is in sight for UW-Green Bay’s Michelle Haapala — the 2018 P.E.O. Reciprocity Scholarship recipient.

Michelle Haapala likes the little things, the small achievements that she witnesses while working with a client with traumatic brain injury, for example. Or a compassionate smile for a child with special needs, making their school day easier. Haapala herself has taken many small steps, even steps backwards, to finally realize her goal of a bachelor’s degree. She is determined; she has persevered; she has made sacrifices; and finally, success is in sight.

One step forward, two steps back in her college pursuit

Haapala grew up in southern California, and after graduating from high school, knew she wanted to pursue a career in education, specifically with kids with disabilities. Two of her brothers have special needs, including autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder.

Shortly after starting college, her biological mom had a massive stroke, and as the oldest, Michelle suddenly became caregiver to her mom and younger siblings, driving them to and from school every day. The pursuit of her own degree quickly became less of a priority, and she began working for the school district as a special needs aide.

Michelle Haapala-1Haapala got married, had her son Hunter, and after 10 years of on-and-off schooling, graduated with an associates degree in Humanities — her five-year-old proudly watching as mom received her degree. Shortly after that she and her husband divorced, she moved to Arkansas to live with family, and continued to work in the special education area.

“I like the little growth that you see, especially with students. If they are supposed to do a task for a minute, and they do it for 30 seconds, that’s tremendously better than the 20 seconds they’ve spent on it before.”

She had definitely found her calling.

After a year in Arkansas, Haapala and her son moved to Green Bay upon the invitation of her best friend, and Michelle started taking online classes in special education through UW-Superior. She was undaunted and determined to finish her bachelor’s degree. But the online classroom was not for her. “I missed the face-to-face interaction and support,” she says. She looked into the local college, UW-Green Bay and after speaking with an advisor, starting classes working towards a major in history and a minor in secondary education.

At the same time, she started working two jobs to manage the bills and support her son, now almost 10 years old. He enrolled in the Ashwaubenon School District and soon Haapala became an aide in the special education department there. In addition, she started working with adults with disabilities at Curative Connections, specifically with adults with traumatic brain injury. She loved it — “it is a lot like special education because of the speech challenges, pre-planning and communication tools.” She reveled again in the small steps of success that she saw the clients achieve. “I applied for a program tech job (at Curative) and got passed over because I didn’t have my bachelor’s degree.” This motivating force resulted in one of her best semesters at UW-Green Bay.

Juggling her schedule was still a challenge. She was a sub-aide for the Ashwaubenon School District, part-time at Curative, her son’s Destination Imagination (DI) coach, and den leader for his Webelo den. Being on-campus helped her re-center and made her more determined to finish her degree. Yet, funds were running out and her schedule was increasingly hectic.

Moving forward with help from UW-Green Bay and P.E.O.

At the end of the fall semester, her faculty advisor recommended she apply for the Arnold Lelis Memorial Scholarship; she did and received a $1,000 check to help pay for her books. She also applied for the P.E.O Reciprocity Scholarship. In the spring of this year, she received news that she had been awarded a $7,000 scholarship. After “freaking out” with one of her close co-workers, Haapala couldn’t wait to share the news with her family and roommates.

P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, a nationwide sisterhood that awards scholarships to women based on financial need and other extenuating circumstances, that have prevented them from completing their education. Candidates need to be within two years of finishing their degree.

Michelle Haapala-2P.E.O. Reciprocity Scholarship committee chairperson, Carol Wilinski became involved with the local P.E.O. Sisterhood because of her love of education and empowering women. “It’s amazing to see the tenacity of the women who apply, and what they go through and yet they forge ahead to get their education,” says Wilinski. The sisterhood organizations within the Green Bay area host one fundraiser for their scholarship program, The Gallery of Shops, that raises around $40,000 every year. This money stays in Brown County and every penny is used to help women further their education. “We can have a huge impact on education in Brown County.”

Life for Haapala feels a bit more balanced knowing that her schooling for the year will be taken care of because of the P.E.O. Scholarship award. “On Mondays, I would drop Hunter off at his school, go to (UW-Green Bay) school, then go to work, and not get home until he was in bed,” she says. With this award, she is able to spend more time with Hunter and is not working a third job to pay for tuition. Now in fifth grade, Hunter is successful in school and loves animals and scouting and may follow in his Mom’s footsteps. “He spent a year with my brother and is so comfortable and sweet with kids with special needs,” says Haapala. “Disabilities don’t scare him.”

Exemplifying the Wisconsin Idea

According to plan, Haapala will finish the needed classes that allow her to student teach in the spring of 2020, and she’ll accept her diploma that same spring. “My goal in life is to make an impact and use my degree to reach the most people, so I can help the most people.” As a parent, she’s acutely aware of how her determination is showing Hunter that you have to finish what you start – with small steps forward – even if it takes longer than expected.

She may not realize (yet!) the ripple effect that her seemingly small steps have on the lives of everyone she comes in contact with. Whether it be her clients at Curative Connections, her 10-year-old son, or the students with special needs that she can’t wait to start teaching. Armed with her drive, compassion and soon, a bachelor’s degree, her impact on the people in this community will be felt like an earthquake.

Story by freelance writer Kristin Bouchard ’93

Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay to host Destination Imagination state tournament

An event that will bring an expected 7,000 people to UW-Green Bay on April 13, 2019 needs your support! The Wisconsin Destination Imagination, Inc.’s (WIDI) board of directors approved an agreement with UW-Green Bay in partnership with the  Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement to host the Destination Imagination Wisconsin state tournament. UW-Green Bay has signed a contract to be the site host for the WIDI for the next five years, beginning this spring on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Destination Imagination, Inc. is a volunteer-led non-profit organization whose purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually, they offer seven new standards-based Challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning and Early Learning. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve our Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths. Founded in 1982, Destination Imagination has impacted more than 2 million students. To learn more, please visit ​http://destinationimagination.org​.

This event will bring around 7,000 people to campus in one day and will be a terrific recruitment tool for the University. With this large of an event, it will be an “all hands on deck” type of day for the University. We will be looking to students and staff to step-up and help out with this unique opportunity we have been given. Therefore, please reserve this Saturday (April 13, 2019) on your calendars to plan to help make this event a successful one.