Hillcrest Middle School’s Odyssey!

May 15th update:

  • Having another yummy KRISPY KREME donut sale on SATURDAY, MAY 20! Starting at 10 am at Canadian Tire Port Coquitlam – get yours early, we’ve had 3 sales so far and they all have quickly sold out!
  • Our auction to raise money for our team was a huge success – thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to the winning bidders. Thanks very much to the City of Coquitlam and the Poirier Recreation Centre for allowing us to hold the auction on your site.
  • We are still far from our goal so, please, donate. Every little bit helps and you can get a tax receipt for just a $25 donation.
  • The kids were in the TriCity News a little bit ago.
  • Keep watching this space for updates and scroll to the bottom for updates on the businesses that have contributed!


Some of you may remember that our daughter is involving in an amazing program called Odyssey of the Mind. We liken this creative problem-solving competition to “Brain-Sportsing.”
Essentially, kids from kindergarten to university come together in small groups in their own age divisions to solve problems that range from how to stack as much weight as possible on the tiniest structure possible to creatively interpreting classical literature in a fun and interesting way – and they do it all fully independently (the little ones are under adult supervision, of course). The solutions are 100% child-determined and they cannot have adult input (in fact, they can get penalized for it! I ‘coach’ but it’s mainly a supportive role.). It is incredible to see these kids band together to come up with creative, artistic, and functional solutions to problems. It is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) at its best! They learn teamwork, respect for each other’s ideas, patience, and of course, a lot of practical skills. Last year, they made it to World Finals (that’s us in Iowa, second row, third picture from the left!)!

This year, our daughter is at Hillcrest Middle School in Coquitlam and her team chose to solve the “Catch Us If You Can” problem, which required them to imagine they are headed to a secret meeting place and they need to throw off their trail a person who wants to prevent their secret meeting. They had to devise everything in their performance solution:

  • 3 unique vehicles and their unique methods of propulsion (no remote controls allowed!)
  • different and separate tracks for each of these vehicles
  • different and separate methods for each of their vehicles to ‘lose’ the ‘bad guy’
  • a parking garage they have to exit
  • a secret meeting place they have to enter
  • and a skit and song to perform!

Six months of hard work (a lot of duct tape and hot glue, and a LOT of fun) resulted in their team of Grade 6s winning the Provincial GOLD medal! Not only do they have that exciting claim to fame, but now they can travel to Odyssey World Finals at Michigan State University at the end of May of this year!

World Finals is a breathtaking experience! Over 15,000 kids from countries all over the world (image 2 on that page – that’s me!), participating in an olympiad-type competition. Last year, we interacted with teams from Poland, Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, Togo, all across the United States, and those are just some of the people we talked to! The kids get more out of the experience than a competition – they learn the appreciation of other cultures and languages, they learn that the world is bigger than their corner of the Tri-Cities, they learn acceptance and respect, and they learn more about themselves and their place in the universe. They leave far richer than you can imagine.

But we need your help to get there. The travel costs and boarding will cost us about $12000. We would welcome your donations, from the smallest to large corporate sponsorship. Last year, we had Finger Food Studios and Port Moody Realtor John Grasty as our major sponsors and we were proud to wear their logos on our team shirts on a world stage! All donations over $25 are eligible for a tax receipt because the money actually goes to the Creative Problem Solving Society (or CPSS), the Registered Charity that administers the Odyssey program in BC. You donate to the CPSS with funds earmarked for our Hillcrest Middle School team, you get the tax receipt, we get the reimbursement to cover our team’s travel costs. It’s a win-win-win! If you don’t need a tax receipt, you can go directly to our GoFundMe page and donate there.

Please consider sponsoring these amazing kids – they’ll be the leaders of our community one day! Contact me (Jennifer) to see how you can donate to our team or sponsor us!

Thanks to our recent business donors! And, of course, our private individual donors! 

Help Support Our Team. Please Donate Now.


Hillcrest Middle School’s Odyssey!
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