Carver Wessel

Through a District 279 Foundation grant, Park Center Senior High teacher Wendy Wessel invited See More Perspective, a local artist and poet from TruArt Speaks, to speak to her classes. See More taught more than 60 Park Center Senior High students about how to use figurative language to create an “ode” poem. Through that poem, students had the opportunity to share their unique perspectives and feelings. The ode poem is designed to be a passionate, emotional poem spoken directly to a person, place or thing.

By learning from a professional spoken word artist, students had the opportunity to hone in on their crafts of rapping, writing poetry and presenting their artwork to others. Students practiced their poetry and presented a poem to their class in a Spoken Word Open Mic event on May 29.

One student read a line from his ode to basketball. Music and its transformative healing powers was the focus of another student’s ode. Another student stood in front of the class to read a few lines from her ode to her grandfather who she said knows her better than anyone else.

See More’s message to the students was to keep writing and share their voice with others. By writing unique metaphors and similes, writers can make powerful connections and help people see the world in a new way.

Photo: With a big smile on her face, Janae Carver shared her ode to the subject of her poem, her favorite teacher, Wendy Wessel.

DIdeas Keep on Comin' team members with trophyAfter winning regional and state Destination Imagination (DI) titles this year, the Osseo Area Schools team of DIdeas Keep on Comin’ traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, last week to vie for the global championship.

Mission accomplished.

Erin Besser, Jess Bray, Adamson Novak and James Pipkin—the quartet of Maple Grove and Osseo senior high school students who make up the team—outpaced 75 other teams in the Secondary Level Fine Arts Challenge to claim their first world title. Competing at the DI Global Finals once again, the team’s victory was the culmination of more than 1,600 hours of work throughout the past nine months.

This year’s DI Fine Arts Challenge required teams to create and present an eight minute, two act musical, complete with set changes and other elements to enhance the storytelling. Solutions were assessed by a panel of trained appraisers—ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to engineers—and were scored on a variety of elements such as originality, workmanship, presentation and teamwork.

2017-2018 has been a banner year for DIdeas Keep on Comin’. Aside from achieving success at regional, state and global DI competitions, team members earned Minnesota DIstinguished Leader awards in recognition of their exceptional dedication, innovation, leadership and performance in service of Minnesota’s DI program. The team has also mentored other District 279 teams and hosted an Instant Challenge workshop this winter to help younger students work on their problem solving skills. Jody Kinneberg, music teacher at Maple Grove Middle School, serves as the team’s manager.

Osseo Area Schools was strongly represented at the DI Global Finals. In addition to DIdeas Keep on Comin’, three other teams of students competed in Knoxville:

  • “The Six Smarties” from Rush Creek Elementary tied for 16th place in the Elementary Level Improvisation Challenge (members: Isabel Bauerly, Emma Roach, Sydney Manning, Will Raymond, Makayla Elkins and Mady Nash)
  • “4 - - Alpha” from Brooklyn Middle STEAM School placed 48th in the Middle Level Scientific Challenge (members: Grace Seifert, Abby Battan, Anna Carstens and Katie Knox)
  • “seluR atosenniM” [Minnesota Rules] from Maple Grove Middle School tied for 58th place in the Middle Level Scientific Challenge (members: Eshwar Garlapati, Thomas Botkin, Brayden Kaiser, Cecilia De Oliveira, Kat Klopotek and Gautham Barani)

DI provides students with the opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions in the areas of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and service learning. Each year, more than 150,000 students representing 30 countries participate in DI challenges. After successfully advancing through their regional and state competitions, more than 1,400 teams from 19 countries competed at the Global Finals.

PHOTO: (L to R) Adamson Novak (MGSH), Jess Bray (MGSH), James Pipkin (OSH) and Erin Besser (MGSH)—a.k.a., DIdeas Keep on Comin'—pose with team manager Jody Kinneberg after claiming first place in the Secondary Level Fine Arts Challenge at the Destination Imagination Global Finals on May 26 in Knoxville, Tennessee.