Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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Crusaders capture second Gingerbread House Contest


In December, the Saint Louis team achieved their second consecutive win in the Windward Mall Gingerbread House Contest. 

Saint Louis School Art Teacher Michael Amerino formed a team of four students to partner up with two kupunas to have a little holiday fun using gingerbread to build designs that come to mind. This annual competition not only brings together the community in a festive spirit but also serves as a canvas for students to showcase their artistic talents through the whimsical world of gingerbread.

The contest was originally for pumpkin carving during the Halloween season, but over the years, the contest name may have changed, but the spirit of the event remains the same. It is a themed project fundraiser, with proceeds going to the La Lima project, which provides financial support to non-profit organizations in need. It’s a wonderful way to give back to the community while enjoying festive fun!

The Gingerbread Contest differs from the traditional get-a-kit and builds the best house because it requires participants’ creativity.  Each year, the contest focuses on a theme; this year’s theme was remembering the people of Lahaina. So, the Saint Louis team decided to do the lighthouse and the whaling period, creating the whaleship and a whale as part of their display. 

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“Really, it’s student-driven, where the students will come up with their idea of what to do, and then we kind of brainstorm how we can build it and what we can use to create it,” said Amerino. 

Senior Riley Chong was a member of last year’s winning team. “No pressure because we were prepared to win,” shared Chong. A lot of thought and preparation goes into this project, and it gives the students hands-on experience and allows them to think about what they want to make.

Students can unleash their creativity and transform the traditional holiday treat, gingerbread, into a masterpiece. The atmosphere is filled with excitement and imagination as the young students dive into the artistic playground, experimenting with design, color, and texture in a unique way. “This expands their kind of idea of how to create something other than a regular gingerbread house; right, it’s kind of like, how can we make other things and make them come alive, I guess?” explained Amerino.

Competing like this takes a lot of planning. “We start a month ahead of time, and it goes from brainstorming to coming up with drawing designs then kind of creating the templates to build,” notes Amerino.  This allows the students to get on the right track and practice working with the materials they use beforehand to get the feel of it. The game plan coming into this year’s competition “was to have two people working on the whale and rowboat while the other two worked on the dock and the lighthouse,” said Chong. 

Students get to learn the principles of design, architecture, and teamwork. The hands-on nature of the contest engages the students in a fun and interactive way, turning what could be a project to get community service hours into an enjoyable learning experience. “There are many aspects to the design that they actually experience and learn if they don’t learn, so there are many different skills they learn in this one project,” added Amerino.

Student Miles Gilbert was one of the returning team members and shared his excitement for this year’s content.  “It’s pretty cool people can like see me now and maybe get some commissions for that,” said Gilbert.  

The event allows students to work together to brainstorm ideas, assign tasks, and bring their collective vision to life. This collaborative effort teaches them the value of communication and cooperation skills extending beyond gingerbread’s edible confines.  “The contest helped me grow by introducing new ways to make art; for example, instead of using frosting for the whale, we used fondant,” said Chong.

 The community is encouraged to support the Saint Louis students participating in this annual event. “It’s definitely people-driven and business-driven if you want to support everything. Everything is a fundraiser, like this year, when it all went to the people of Lahaina,” shared Amerino. “It’s going to be a good cause, but it’s also good to cheer on the student; they’re expressing their design and art, so coming out supporting and, in many ways, financially, and actually being there and cheering us on.”

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About the Contributor
Kaeokulani Catrett
Kaeokulani Catrett, Staff Writer
Kaeo Catrett has been at Saint Louis School since his freshman year and a multi-sport student-athlete at Saint Louis School in both Varsity Football and Wrestling. He is from Kaneohe. Catrett looks forward to being a part of The Collegian team as a Staff Writer and experiencing what it’s like  as a Journalist. “I took Journalism to learn. I like writing.”

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