Five Pennsbury students and one Council Rock student joined together to form a Destination Imagination team which created a published book.

The team, that competed in the global competition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville were Pennsbury High School juniors – Nick Franchi, Tommy Kraeck, Leah Stoogenke and Regan Stump. They were joined by Council Rock South sophomore Fran Miller, and Maya Stoogenke from Pennsbury’s William Penn Middle School, to form Team et cetera, coached by Scott Stoogenke, Leah and Maya’s father. The team chose the Service Learning challenge and created both an eight-minute musical presentation, and wrote, illustrated and published a children’s book on Amazon for their project.

At State finals near Harrisburg in April, they placed first in their category and won the coveted Renaissance Award for the creativity of their project across all categories and levels. At Globals, they placed twelfth out of seventy teams overall in the Service Learning category and second out of seventy teams on the core portion of the project: the musical and the book.

Destination Imagination is a spinoff of Odyssey of the Mind. It is a nonprofit organization which fosters learning and creativity through open-ended challenges in STEAM (STEM with the arts included) and service-learning. As the largest creativity competition in the world, approximately 150,000 students compete each year. Over two million have participated since its inception in 1982. More than 1400 top-ranked teams from over fifteen countries, competed at the Global Finals competition in one of seven challenge categories: technical, scientific, engineering, fine arts, improvisation, service learning, and early learning. The teams ranged in age from pre-K to university level.

The book created by the students is titled “Maggie’s Box” is about a girl who discovers by “thinking outside the box, she can do anything.” It is available for $11.95 on Amazon, and all proceeds from each sale benefit Camfed, (Campaign for Female Education), a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty in Africa through the education of girls and empowerment of young women. “Maggie’s Box” instantly became an Amazon Top 100 best-seller, ranking #48 among children’s books about values, selling nearly 150 copies in a single day, and has already generated hundreds of dollars for Camfed – enough to educate three girls for a year! The Kraeck family donated a copy to each of the ten Pennsbury elementary schools, and the Miller family donated a copy to many of the local Bucks County Library branches.

The musical presentation tells the story of a grown-up, educated Maggie interviewing for a job, facing gender discrimination from a competing job candidate, and then from her potential boss. Through confidence, a strong female role model, and a belief that girls should not be limited by preconceived notions of what a girl can or cannot do, she obtains the job and performs outstandingly well.

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