May 26, 2019

CincyHacks Jr. 2019


By: Brooke C., Director Program Management

It’s time to talk about the Mason, OH Hack Club again! This amazing group of high school students hosted their annual Cengage sponsored hackathon event on Saturday April 6th, 2019. This year they changed the event from its prior 24 hour hackathon format to a daylong event, making this their first ever CincyHacks Jr. event!!!! The change was made to allow for younger future coders, programmers and technologists to join in on the fun!

Full Day Hackathon

This day long computer programming workshop focused on educating  4th – 8th grade students on HTML, CSS and Javascript. They begin with a basic programming tutorial. Next, the students are asked to form teams where they are challenged with imagining, designing, and pitching a creative idea or product to a panel of judges. They must build a functional website as the foundation of their idea using their newly acquired programming skills.

The event was led by 15 Mason Hack Club members, attended by 72 middle school students, and chaperoned by Cengage’s own Mike H. (Mason Hack Club’s parent advisor) and Mason High School Comp Sci teacher CJ Dicks. The event was hosted at Cengage’s Mason, OH office location. While these high school Hack Club members definitely had their hands full, they did an exceptional job at making sure the event had a good balance of education and fun!

The Main Event

Participants broke off into small teams consisting of 2-5 people in either 4th and 5th grade or 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.  Once in those smaller teams they began brainstorming what they could build for a chance to win the CincyHacks Jr title.

These creative, thoughtful, entertaining and at times wacky sessions developed a myriad of interesting ideas that fall into five main categories: Educational; Entrepreneurial; Global Issues & Conservation; News/Gossip; Fantasy/Futuristic.


  • How to become a professional coder
  • How to become a professional artist
  • Online translation site
  • Learn to speak Hindi


  • Ice cream & dessert sale
  • Music streaming site
  • Mass produced robotic hands to help with chores
  • Clothing and accessory sales (100% of profits funds education)

Global issues & Conservation

  • Metal straw sales to save the turtles
  • A global disaster website highlighting areas where pollution, disease or climate change are severe
  • “We Care” website helping people be happy and to remain calm

News & Gossip

  • The Poppy News – daily gossip
  • The Daily Derp – funny current events
  • Conspiracy theories – wiki style conspiracy site

Fantasy & Futuristic

  • Creation and mass sale of virtual reality suits
  • Dragons – everything you would need to know about dragons
  • Pineapple Run – a funny fruit-based video game

All of the above ideas were presented by the teams. It was impressive to watch such young talent stand up, explain and promote their ideas. Equally impressive were the websites these young men and women created!

Winning Teams

The winning teams were judged on appearance, functionality, creativity & quality of idea, presentations and their use of HTML, CSS, Javascript and ReactJS.

There were three winning teams:

  • Volo – an online clothing and accessory retailer where 100% of profits funds education. This team was comprised of 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
  • Pineapple Run – a funny fruit-based video game. This team was comprised of 4th and 5th graders.
  •  What are Dragons? – everything you would need to know about dragons. This team was comprised of 4th and 5th graders.

While the above three teams walked away with prizes and an opportunity to attend the Hack Camp 2019, a week long summer camp hacking event, we at Cengage believe that all who attended the event are winners.

Cengage truly loves sponsoring the Mason Hack Club and always looks forward to seeing what these talented and creative kids come up with. We believe in the power of education and technology.  We are immensely proud of the Mason Hack Club and their initiative in teaching coding skills to younger generations!