During December festivities, there are always traditions and events that bring up the holiday spirit. One of the most popular ones is the making of “Gingerbread Houses”, where individually or in teams, people build structures using gingerbread and many different kinds of candy. At the Career Center, the Arlington Tech program instituted this activity in 2016, and is now considered to be an annual tradition of the program.
The Arlington Tech Gingerbread tradition began when students suggested the event to bring everyone closer as a community. The event consists of placing students into random groups with a staff member as the head of each. Using this method, students will collaborate with other students they don’t really know or do not have any classes with, which provides the chance of building community and making more friends. .
During the event, there is the major competition in which groups need to come up with a “gingerbread” structure involving as much creativity as possible plus connections with the school and community. Groups are assigned a few days before the competition and given time to brainstorm and make plans. Each group is assigned an equal amount of Graham Crackers (instead of gingerbread) and the rest of creativity depends on what the group members provide. For better creativity, group members are encouraged to bring different types of candy and other simple tools that can make the structure look colorful and be more stable depending on what it is.
On competition day, groups meet up together after lunch time in separate classrooms, and they are given two hours to build their gingerbread structures. Structures built during the competition are house-type designs, fortresses, technology-based projects, and many other creative constructions that students develop depending on what materials/resources they provided. There are some restrictions during the event: groups cannot bring any pre-built bases or structures then glue candy on them, take a peek at other groups’ work, and/or steal materials. After the two hours are up, groups bring their projects down to the commons where they are judged by coordinators and staff for the top three winners.
After the competition, the top three winning groups receive delicious donuts as a prize and for the rest of the time, people can eat their creations (if they are safe) or dispose them. This years winners were Andrew Lindholm, Roman DeCaprio, Michael O’Brien, McKenna Willis, Thomas Doby, Abby Vaughn, Leeco Guiterrez.
The gingerbread event has been considered a good way to bring Arlington Tech together in a creative, fun challenge, which is the reason it has been planned to persist for every year during the holidays.
At the end of the year,
When the holidays are near,
A festive tradition has come
No grinches have been seen
Just a program painted green
Making houses out of candy for fun
Graham crackers and sugary confections they’ve brought
Using the lessons and skills they were taught
To participate in a competition and be number one
And at the end of the competition,
After all the demolition,
We gathered together to celebrate and have fun.
- Written by Rayan Rhomari
The time for gingerbread has come,
For students and staff to have some fun.
When students bring in their own tasty treats,
To build, to decorate, and to eat
The tradition is followed every year
A contest is held with spirit and cheer.
With categories to challenge the best,
To put our creativity to the test
We now invite you to join the show,
So come with us, and then we’ll go.
- Written by Lena Bolz