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RMS team comes out on top at DI global finals

A group of Rosemount Middle School girls is on top of the world this week.

The six members of the RMS DI Know Youz?? Destination ImagiNation team was one of two groups to receive an Outstanding rating and finished in first place in their category last weekend at the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The RMS team competed against 49 other groups from the United States, Canada and Mexico in a challenge that asked them to put together an event to raise money and awareness of an issue of their choosing, then use social networks to promote it.

The DI Know Youz?? held a dance and carnival March 12 at RMS to raise money for patients at St. Paul Children's Hospital. They used the money they collected with inflatable attractions and booths for face painting and photographs to buy knit beanies, movies, craft sets and iTunes gift cards they hope will help kids through a tough time.

The students qualified for the global finals by winning a state competition in April.

At globals they had to present their project, perform a skit -- in this case a version of the Taio Cruz song Dynamite with new lyrics that spelled out the details of their project -- and complete an instant challenge that was a mystery to them until the day of the competition. They were nervous when they started, but they loosened up as they went.

The girls got their score back shortly after their performance, so they knew they'd done well. They didn't know how well, though, until the closing ceremony.

They were excited, to say the least.

"We screamed," team member Megan McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the judges particularly liked the scrapbook they kept throughout their project. There were tabs between the pages that featured journal entries from some of the hospital patients their efforts helped.

Getting to the Global Finals was a long road for the girls. They started working early this year and continued fine-tuning their presentation right up until last week's competition. They didn't mind the hard work, though. They made new friends, and they know they helped some kids their age through a difficult time.

"The best thing was really helping the girls," McKenzie said. "I told the group, it doesn't matter if we get last place or not. Either way the girls win."