If you see Aspengrove School’s ultimate frisbee team running in shorts so hideous they look good, well that’s the work of Lesley Hill.
The 18-year-old set out to make her own shorts with the ultimate fabric and the project snowballed.
A teacher suggested she make a matching pair for her coach, and when the coach saw it, he said they had to have some for the entire team for its tournament in Washington. Hill went back to the sewing machine with the same crazy fabric in multi-colours, animal prints and stripes and with the help of her mom, turned out 16 pairs by spring break as a surprise for her teammates.
“They were all actually extremely excited,” she said. “They are so hideous they are actually quite nice-looking … there’s a reason no one had bought the fabric, let me put it that way.”
Shorts aren’t Hill’s only stamp on her school. She designed the team’s jerseys and painted a mural in the hallway of a new school building as part of the International Baccalaureate diploma program.
She also paints sets and design props, including at the Qualicum Theatre, plays the alto sax in the school’s jazz and concert band and has been working her way through the bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. When finishing her silver level, she was nominated to go to Manitoba to meet award participants and alumni across Canada and discuss issues such as mental health. Her team put together a website where people could help and support one another.
She said it was good to hear positive comments from people, some of whom were thankful, and it made her realize that many people can name big problems in communities, countries or the world – but then they shrug and say it’s a huge problem and they can’t do anything.
“But if we all pitch in a tiny little bit, it really does make a big difference,” she said.
The conference led her to do other things she says she probably wouldn’t have done, like the International Baccalaureate World Student Conference in London, a similar event where she joined forces with a team of students from Vancouver on a project where they’re now looking to get a vacant building refugees could stay in to get on their feet, learn English and meet people.
Hill says she’s always doing stuff, is generally a happy person and likes helping others.
Jim Kingstone, university counsellor for Aspengove, has taught for almost 40 years and said Hill is one of those students who will stand out among the most determined, the most creative and most versatile.
“She’s one of those students teachers point to when they say, you want to be a good student or you want to accomplish this or want to achieve that – be like Lesley,” he said.
Hill plans to attend the University of British Columbia to study engineering physics and has more than $100,000 in scholarships.
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