Parkview students are taking the 'Hero Bureau' global

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Gina Duwe
Friday, May 16, 2014

ORFORDVILLE--Batkid helped inspire Parkview High School students earn a spot in the Destination Imagination international competition.

Five-year-old cancer survivor Miles Scot made headlines last November in San Francisco when he spent a day as superhero Batkid saving “Gotham City” from super-villain-sized problems thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

His joy inspired a team of Parkview students to help make heroes out of other children dealing with long-term medical care.

“We decided that we'd really like to do something similar to that,” junior Austin Schroeder said.

Schroeder and his Destination Imagination team came up with The Hero Bureau, a project to provide boxes filled with toys, books, masks and other hero gear for children in the hospital.

“This is a smaller way to bring hope to children that are sick,” Austin said.

Wisconsin's "Hero Bureau" makes its pitch (1:58)

The team's efforts earned them a trip to the Destination Imagination global competition next week in Tennessee after placing second at the state competition in Stevens Point last month. The team earned first place for the idea at the regional competition in Lake Geneva.

The team leaves Monday night for the competition that runs Wednesday through Saturday at the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Teams in Destination Imagination solve one of seven open-ended challenges and must present their solutions to judges in less than eight minutes. The Parkview team back in November picked the outreach category. They had to identify a need in the community focused around “play” and find a way to solve it.

Austin's brother Ty, a sophomore, came up with the name Hero Bureau. Teammate Jacob Toberman had the idea for their tagline, “Changing lives one cape at a time,” while Zachary Klick designed their logo.

Another requirement was to form community partners, and Austin solicited donations for capes and masks through Abracadabrazoo while Zach knew a company, the Menasha Corp., that provided boxes.

The team hasn't delivered any boxes yet, but it is working with Mercy Health System, which agreed to distribute questionnaires to families so the team can tailor boxes for children.

The Destination Imagination Global Finals bills itself as “the world's largest celebration of creativity.” It is expected to be the biggest ever with more than 8,000 students on 1,400 teams from around the world.

The Parkview team applied to be a buddy team and will host a team from Qatar in the Middle East.

The community has rallied around the team to raise enough money in a matter of weeks to send them to Tennessee. People paid $20 to $30 for car washes, and an anonymous donor gave $700, said team manager Tracy Schroeder, mother of Austin and Ty. Brian Schroeder, the boys' father and Tracy's husband, also is coaching the team.

The competition includes an instant challenge completed on the spot as well as workshops and learning opportunities run by NASA, 3M, National Geographic and other companies.

“The general experience is going to be pretty cool,” Ty said, though he admitted being nervous about presenting in a large auditorium.

The teens said they never expected to be going to the global competition. They'll use the same presentation with some tweaks, including wearing colorful capes they've made in recent days.

While the idea started as the Destination Imagination project, Austin said it has quickly turned into an organization that the teens plan to sustain long after the competition is over.

“We hope to keep growing larger to keep spreading play and joy to the children who deserve it,” Zachary said during the closing of their presentation.

Last updated: 2:57 pm Friday, May 16, 2014

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