HBHS FACS holds its 14th annual gingerbread house contest


Sydney Speir

The winning gingerbread house, titled “The Slammer,” was a miniature version of a prison, complete with pretzel fences and candy barbed wire. “It was a great experience creating this masterpiece with my group,” said Brodie Kelly ‘19, one of the creators of the winning gingerbread house. Her other group members included Natalie Cook ‘19, Ryan Coutu ‘20, and Chelsea Macnamara ‘19.

Sydney Speir, Staff Writer

During the week prior to Christmas break, a pop of color emerged atop the library bookshelves in a unique form: gingerbread houses. These sugary treats were a festive addition to the library as well as a friendly competition for their creators. Assembled by Foods and Nutrition I and II students, the gingerbread houses were voted on by HB staff and students during their week on display.

Each year, Candice Hancock, the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at HBHS, holds a competition for her student’s gingerbread houses in order to involve the entire school in the project. Students and faculty are invited to vote on their favorite gingerbread house via an online Google pole.

During the week leading up to the final vote count, it seemed as though “Candy Land” and “Fort Bear” would compete for first place. However, “The Slammer,” created by Brodie Kelley ‘19, Natalie Cook ‘19, Ryan Coutu ‘20, and Chelsea Mcnamara ‘19, pulled ahead at the end of the week to claim first place. “It was really cool to watch it come together and yield the results we were all hoping for after so much hard work,” said Kelley.

The Foods students split up into groups of four to create their gingerbread houses. And although the students worked next to each other during construction, tension rose once they were all put on display and voting opened to the public. “The winner gets a gift card, so it gets pretty competitive,” said Mia Pickard ‘19, a current Foods II student. First place (“The Slammer”) received a Starbucks gift card, second place (“Christmas Resort”) received a Dairy Queen gift card, and third place (“Rob’s Chimney”) received a Subway gift card.

Despite the competition among groups, Hancock hopes that the students take more away from the gingerbread contest than just prizes. “They’re very unique. It helps create team building and critical thinking,” said Hancock.

For the project, students were given two weeks to plan, bake, build and decorate their gingerbread houses in their groups. Hancock buys the gingerbread materials, while the students and their group members purchase and bring in any additional decorative materials that they think would make their house a strong competitor. “For the foundation, we used tootsie rolls and we used cotton candy to make the smoke [in the chimney],” said Pickard. According to Hancock, these personal touches were where the teams really distinguished themselves.

Additionally, the gingerbread house project aims to foster collaboration in a relaxing, creative manner. “It’s always an enjoyable project for this part of the year. It brings your stress level down just in time for the holidays,” says Pickard, who has participated in the contest twice. Having the opportunity to be creative with peers gives Foods students a brief reprieve from the stress of normal classes, making it a popular project.

During their time on display, the gingerbread houses were enjoyed by visiting students and staff. “I think they are [a good addition] because they add some color and some fun to a place that is otherwise meant for studying,” said Elliana Jordan ‘20.

Looking forward, the Foods classes are sure to keep up the 14-year-old tradition of the gingerbread house contest. To get involved next year, you can contact Ms. Heaton in the library to place your vote.