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Sights, smells of gingerbread roll in the holiday season

First-place winners in this year's first gingerbread contest at Sun Valley High School are, from left, Kayla Iannetto and Cheyanne Helms, both 15-year old 10th graders, for their “You’re a Mean Mr. Grinch” entry. (Below top, are all the Sun Valley High School winners. Below bottom, are the winners from Sun Valley Middle.)

Sun Valley Middle School continued its 10-year tradition of housing a gingerbread contest, a tradition that the originator has now taken to the high school.

Having a gingerbread contest is in its infancy at Sun Valley High School, but it is expected to become a long tradition that rings in the holiday season each year at the school.

“We’re starting from the ground up,” said the event coordinator SVHS art teacher Tiffany Medford, who began having the contest at Sun Valley Middle School about 10 years ago. She now teaches at the high school and is bringing that same contest there.

At the middle school, Medford grew the annual contest to about 70 participants each year. Her first year at the high school, obviously is starting a little smaller with only eight entries.

“It’s creating a new culture,” she said. “I’ve had numerous faculty and staff say they didn’t know what to expect. But seeing this will increase participation for next year. We’ll continue to grow it and as more students get involved, it will create the excitement. It’s a chance for them to get creative outside of their normal medium.”

Medford continues to use the rules for the competition that are based on the Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House Contest guidelines. Entries have to be edible, with the houses being made primarily of gingerbread or graham crackers.

They also have to have a holiday theme. Judges, who were chosen from outside the school, give each entry points in appearance, originality, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme.

Sun Valley High School winners:
First place - 15-year-olds Kayla Iannetto and Cheyanne Helms, both 10th graders, for “You’re a Mean Mr. Grinch” entry.

The most difficult part of this entry was the chimney, which consisted of 15 different pieces of gingerbread molded together. The book pages are actually gingerbread they had to bake from scratch.

The second-place winners are Nadya Murdcau and Anna Clarke, both juniors, for their castle of gingerbread; while the third-place winners are Samantha Gulickson and Isabella Garcia, both freshmen, for their Christmas cottage.

The faculty winners are Michelle Vangaasbeck and Tammy Weed for their Sun Valley High School gingerbread house.

Sun Valley Middle winners:
First Place - Rachel Howard, 12, a sixth grader; second place, eight graders Thomas Urena and Braydon Willett, both 13 years old; and third place, Taylor Christensen, 14, an eighth grader, and Emily Cleary. The faculty winner is Assistant Principal Pascale Glenn.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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