Experimenting, Prototyping, Inventing and Creating
Project-based learning, real-world relevance
Participating kids research, create and present an invention or idea that would improve life for kids like those at St. Jude.
Meets modern standards
Designed by educators, St. Jude EPIC Challenge meets Next Generation Science Standards.
Flexible and adaptable
St. Jude EPIC Challenge follows a flexible five-lesson format that can be implemented in the classroom or from home.
How EPIC Challenge works:
1) Join the challenge
- Schools or organizations: Register and invite classrooms/families to sign up and join your team.
- Parents and teachers: Search for your school/organization and sign up, or take the challenge on your own by clicking “participate without an organization."
2) Unleash your creativity
Access your EPIC Challenge toolkit through the link we'll send in your welcome email. Download the parent-teacher guide and student journal to guide kids through the research design process as they bring their inventions to life.
3) Kids helping kids
Students can share their invention with family and friends and seek "funding" for their idea in the form of donations to their personal fundraising page to support the kids of St. Jude. Every dollar raised helps unlock new EPIC prizes and experiences while ensuring families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
2020-2021 Top Student Innovation: Esperanza Alcorta, " My Comfy Pillow"
Taking home the top student innovation honor called the Hope Award is 9-year-old Esperanza Alcorta of Silver City, New Mexico, who reflected on her younger sister's cancer journey when creating her invention called My Comfy Pillow. The heart-shaped prototype, which she researched, designed and assembled herself, was created as a "soft, fluffy, huggable" way to help St. Jude patients stay relaxed as they go through treatment. Esperanza received a special message from the Inspiration4 crew as they orbited Earth on their multi-day mission.
2020-2021 Top Classroom Innovation: Indian Land Elementary, "Buddy Blanket"
A second grade class from Indian Land Elementary in Indian Land, South Carolina, received the top classroom innovation award for their invention of the Buddy Blanket. Teacher Michelle Anderson brainstormed with her class what the blanket should look like and what it should say. The prototype featured a handwritten note of encouragement for the kids in treatment at St. Jude. For winning, the class filled a time capsule for transport to space on Inspiration4.
2020-2021 Top Student Fundraiser: Neela Sembroski
The recipient of the Generosity Award for top fundraiser is Neela Sembroski of Everett, Washington, who raised $1,675 for St. Jude. Her prototype is a beanie that displays different colored lights depending on the wearer's mood, helped her rally dozens of supporters to exceed her fundraising goal of $1,500. She drew inspiration from St. Jude patients and her father aerospace engineer Christopher Sembroski who is part of the Inspiration4 crew.
Commemorative 2020-2021 EPIC Achievement Award presented by MOVA Globes
MOVA is proud to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude as an official award sponsor of the St. Jude EPIC Challenge. See below for a list of the top fundraising classrooms and recipients of the commemorative 2020-2021 EPIC Achievement Award presented by MOVA Globes .
- Rachel Stigler's third grade class at Hernando Hills Elementary School in Hernando, Mississippi
- Amanda Nixon's math class at Mid-South Gifted Academy in Collierville, Tennessee
- Stephanie Sartain's class at Hernando Hills Elementary School
- Anne Zeitler's fifth and sixth grade classes at Holy Trinity Lutheran Academy in New Hope, Minnesota
- Kristen Kelly's fourth grade class at Rising Leaders Academy in Panama City, Florida
- Jessica Walton's kindergarten and first grade students at Harrisburg Elementary in Harrisburg, North Carolina
- Veronica Reyes' first grade class at Imperial Cross Elementary in Imperial, California
- Heath McLeod's students at Gaston Elementary School in Gadsden, Alabama
- Stephanie Sartain's third grade class at *Hernando Hills Elementary School in Hernando, Mississippi
- Avery Faile's third grade class at Discovery School in Lancaster, South Carolina
Join the challenge in the classroom or at home
Register to receive our free lesson plan and student resources, perfect for in-classroom activation and distance learners.
Parents and students
Empower little learners to make a difference for kids just like them. Register your family and unleash creativity to fight cancer.
Unleashing creativity to help St. Jude kids