A gingerbread building contest meant to lessen the angst that some Upper School art students sometimes feel during exam week, has become much more than one teacher at The Oakridge School ever dreamed possible.
“As we got closer to exam week and the Christmas break, I wanted to alleviate some of the students’ stress with my class,” said Mrs. Frances Allen, the Upper School Art Instructor, independent artist, and graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design.
“I wanted the students to be able to end the year celebrating and working alongside one another.”
In addition to rigorous academic and athletic programs, a key component of The Oakridge School mission is to inspire students to seek their full potential in the arts in a challenging and nurturing environment that cultivates social responsibility, mutual respect, and personal integrity.
Mrs. Allen felt that having the students, in grades 9-12, design and build gingerbread houses was an opportunity to celebrate fine arts and create a tradition that would be looked forward to each year. This marked the second year for the contest. The students, working on teams of nine to 11 people, engaged in creative brainstorming before and during the process.
Students enrolled in Studio Art, 3-D Art, and 2-D Art all participated this semester. Their entries are on display in the Upper School until Thursday, Dec. 21, and are titled:
· Oakridge’s Frank Field
· Toasted Marshmallows or Glamour Camping
· Nightmare before Christmas
· Santa’s Candyland
· Dr. Seuss’s Who-ville
The winning group, from the 3-D class, created “Nightmare before Christmas.” Team members include: sophomores Ross Chavez, Mark Le, Brian Sackey, Emma Schecter, Emily St. Clair; juniors Stephanie Douglas, Riley Higgins, Alan Nguyen, Anh Nguyen; and senior Kenzie Holtman.
The winning team was selected from votes submitted by teachers to Mrs. Allen via email. In addition to bragging rights, the students will receive bonus points towards one art assignment next semester.
“I have seen gingerbread contests before, but have always wanted to stray away from traditional store bought pre-made supplies,” Mrs. Allen added. “This was a great opportunity to foster collaboration, and begin a fun tradition where expectations can grow year to year.”