Gingerbread House Showdown (Not Just for the Food Network)

Nora Toscano , Editor-in-Chief

Wantagh High School was filled with a plethora of seasonal activities and attractions in the weeks leading up to the holiday break in December. The orchestra played festive songs in the lobby, the chorus sang outside the school’s entrance, and students and staff wore holiday sweaters. But the main attraction was everyone’s favorite: the gingerbread competitions.

Over the course of the few weeks leading up to break, Ms. Carr’s Culinary II class split into groups and built gingerbread houses. These students pulled out all the stops, creating elegant buildings complete with iced siding and colorful candy decorations. When completed, the gingerbread houses were displayed in the main showcase. 

A poster in the case explaining the project contained a QR code that students and staff could scan. The QR code led to a Google Form where they could vote over a week for their favorite gingerbread house. Group 1 took home the title. Julia Nicholson, a fierce competitor who built the second place gingerbread house, shared that she wanted “Justice for Group 4!”

Mrs. Gordon’s physics classes also were challenged to build gingerbread houses the week before break, but faced Hurricane Gordon instead of the judgment of their peers. Her AP Physics I, Physics R, and Conceptual Physics classes had 40 minutes to construct a gingerbread house with the materials given. However, the houses had to be at least 8 inches tall, decorated, have a pointed roof, and, hardest of all, withstand a  60-second hurricane (or the wind from a bright green leaf blower with “Hurricane Gordon” sharpied on the side in Mrs. Gordon’s immaculate handwriting). 

Mrs. Gordon has been doing this project for years, and said, “I look forward to this every year and was excited to bring it back! We had a lot of fun.” 

The students worked in pairs, and tensions were high. After 40 minutes, a panel of guest judges from around the school judged the appearance of the gingerbread houses, filling out Google Forms in the same QR code method Ms. Carr’s class used. Next, the leaf blower was plugged in, and the houses were put to the real test. 

Some collapsed immediately, some only lost a roof, some destroyed their neighbors, and a few survived, including Physics I student Noah Corwin’s, who stated, “The competition was a great way to get sent into the break!”

Luke Kodisch, who created an Empire State Gingerbread House, raved, “Compared to prior schools and school systems, this has been the best experience. Gingerbread house competitions are a very creative idea. I saw some very unexpected gingerbread houses built, and I think every science class should do it!”

Mrs. Gordon
Mrs. Gordon
Mrs. Gordon
Mrs. Gordon