Christmas confections

‘Tis the season for Santa Claus, confectionary decorations and gingerbread. All that was missing at BOCES LoGuidice Center was Santa at the annual gingerbread judging competition.

The culinary arts classroom was turned into a candy land for the competition where junior and senior students created structures. Students of David Caccamise started their three-week-long project prior to Thanksgiving and were only given the guidelines to construct a structure that would fit on a board measuring 2 feet by 2 feet. Students were required to supply decorations but were given ingredients to make the gingerbread.

“The best thing about gingerbread houses is they are unique. Students use their creativity and imagination,” said Caccamise. “You never know what you will get at the high school level.”

Caccamise judged students on use of materials, creativity, overall appearance and holiday spirit. Juniors had to work in groups while seniors had the option to work alone.

Following the completion of the projects, all were put on display for fellow students and staff to vote on their favorite.

Houses ranged from traditional houses including a log cabin to a zoo, a bridge and even a house with a zombie theme. This was the first year many students worked more with fondant on their houses.

“This was the first we had so many unique houses, including a bridge and a zoo,” Caccamise said.

Junior Alexandria Zentz had a winter-themed house loosely based off the North Pole, including penguins. She said her group was not sure what they wanted to do so they looked up some ideas online for inspiration. Juniors Chase Jones and Jeremiah Jones constructed a “manly rustic log cabin” for their house. The final house even had a campfire and a roof made from Chex. Their hardwork paid off as they won first place for the juniors.

Faith Mierzwa and Tyler Grisanti worked on a traditional house which the winter season inspired their design. Their completed house had two snowmen and working lights inside.

“The lights look really cool in there. I’m really impressed,” Mierzwa said.

For the juniors, the group of Jones, Jones, Dustin Lee and Lorenzo Taylor was awarded first place; second place was awarded to Grisanti, Mierzwa, Shawntai LeBarron and Brandie Jock; and third place was awarded to Bryce Bentham, Mackenzie Evans and Clinton Clutter.

In the senior category, first place was awarded to Natalea Leone and Elanena Oyler; second place was awarded to Cassandra Goodwill and Adrian Alvarado; and third place was a tie awarded to Sydney Fafinski and Ashley DePonceau, and Abigayle Malcolm, Luis Hernandez and Skylar Emery.

“The voting was the closest it’s ever been. A lot of the winners were decided by one vote,” Caccamise said.

Those who won the junior categories will be invited to make a house next year to attend a competition sponsored by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Three seniors attended this year’s competition earning second and third place and raising $450 when their houses were auctioned off for charity.

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