KNOXVILLE (WATE) - You may have seen the groups of kids in matching T-shirts walking around downtown Knoxville. They're part of the Destination Imagination global finals taking place on the UT campus and at the convention center.
Destination Imagination teaches kids elementary through college the creative process from imagination to innovation.
"If you have a group of kids who's into science or math or design or engineering, there's something for them. If you have a group of kids that's into fine arts, music theatre, there something for them," said event director Britt Dyer.
The DI global finals, bringing some 17,000 people, came to Knoxville more than 10 years ago.
"We've tried to have it in a few other places, but no one has been able to host it as well as UT," Dyer said.
For students who may not fit in at school, this is a place to belong.
"All these people can come together and not be afraid to show who they are," said Katie Fitzpatrick, a competitor from Massachusetts.
There are DI groups in 48 states and 30 countries, but only the best of the best make it here.
"We went to the mall. We took the buses because it's way different here than back in my country, which is Guatemala," said Jose Perez, 15.
Big name sponsors from 3M to NASA also come here hoping to inspire and maybe recruit future leaders.