Community News

Ja:goh Autumn Nephew & Rosalee LeBeau

December 24, 2021 | | Photo credit: GCS FB

Ja:goh to Gowanda High Senior Autumn Nephew and Junior Rosalee LeBeau on their second-place wins in the annual gingerbread house contest for Culinary studies students at the LoGuidice Educational Center via Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus-BOCES in Fredonia!

For the 25th year, Dave Caccamise had his junior and senior culinary arts/hospitality arts students at the LoGuidice Educational Center compete in the gingerbread house construction competition. His students this year did not disappoint.

“This was one of the toughest years to choose winners,” Caccamise said. “The detail and creativity the students showed was beyond imaginable.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s voting for winning houses was held online by 109 voters; the same number of voters who voted last year. Caccamise said the online voting is not quite as good as being able to see the houses in person.

“The only thing with going virtual was the pictures don’t do all the houses justice,” Caccamise said. “In the past, staff and faculty would look above, around, and underneath the houses but now they have to go by pictures of the front and back.”

One difference from last year in a positive sense, however, is that the seniors were able to branch out and come up with their own house design. Last year, Caccamise shortened the length of the board the students could build on and made the juniors and seniors work off a template, and while he kept the board length the same for this year, the seniors could come up with creative ideas.

“My biggest thing is patience and creativity,” Caccamise said. “I tell them this teaches a lot about life, in terms of facing adversity. Sometimes you walk in and your chimney is on the ground or your roof collapses. How do you bounce back from that? Kids have to go to plan B and potentially try something else. This project doesn’t happen in one day, you have to design it, make it, and bake it.”

Additionally, juniors are required to work as partners, while the seniors can choose to work alone or in groups. Caccamise said both options have upside.

“With the juniors having to work as partners, it’s a lesson I teach them in having to work together and work through creative differences,” Caccamise said. “Seniors have the option of working in a group and that lets you do whatever you want and can let creative juices flow.”

The project began Nov. 29, and ran until Dec. 17, giving the students 15 school days to complete their project in full. Caccamise said that none of his groups gave up on the project, with everyone fighting through the adversity they may have faced.