Colchester High School hosted its eagerly anticipated, time-honored gingerbread house tradition on December 15 & 16.
For the last six years, this energetic and festive annual event, created in an effort to connect CHS with the broader community, combines gleeful cooperation with community spirit. Each of the forty teacher advisory (TA) groups in grades 9–11 collaborates on a gingerbread house created from kits donated by the student government. Seniors may also participate by forming their own teams and recruiting faculty advisors.
Though gingerbread is spicy in its own right, CHS does add a bit more spice by creating a contest for the event, and Principal Amy Minor provides a celebratory treat to the members of the winning TAs. Celebrity judges—this year, UVM Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Becker and UVM Women’s Basketball Coach Lori Gear McBride, as well as a radio personality from 95 Triple X—select winning entries in “traditional” and “open” categories. In the traditional category, the entire structure must be made of edible materials, and in the open category, up to 25 percent of the materials used in the construction and decoration can be inedible. The gingerbread houses, which are completed over the course of two TA periods totaling eighty-five minutes, are displayed in CHS’s library, where they remain through the holiday concert. There, students and members of the community can view the projects and vote for their favorites by donating cash to each entry’s collection jar. The gingerbread house raising the most money is declared the People’s Choice winner, and all funds raised this year as part of the event—$155.04!—will support the Colchester Community Food Shelf.
After the more than fifty gingerbread houses were publicly displayed, some of the faculty members and students spread positive energy and cheer throughout our greater community by delivering them to the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care, the Ronald McDonald House of Burlington, and a number of senior living facilities in our area.
Gingerbread houses (lebkuchenhäuser) are a German tradition stemming from the nineteenth-century Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hänsel and Grethel in which a young boy and girl discover a cottage in the woods built of gingerbread. Gingerbread house events—be they competitions or simply jovial team-building affairs—have been enjoying steadily increasing popularity all over the country.
This jubilant competition has become a much-loved tradition at Colchester High School, made all the more powerful by the many ways in which it encourages positive interaction in our community and supports wonderful causes.
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