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Eighth-graders Lauren Ponzo, Julia Stringer, Raya Cates and Lucie Blahackova
Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 9 years ago

Middle-schoolers create candy-coated cottages

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

After a 30-minute race to build their gingerbread house, Brookside Middle School eighth-graders Lauren Ponzo and Raya Cates had glued the walls together and layered the roof with frosting and gumdrops. But, just as they neared the teachers lounge to drop it off, the roof caved in. The girls panicked and gently set the house down on the closest table, but then were suddenly swarmed by a flock of seventh-graders who snacked on the house’s gumdrops. The two later repaired the damage by adding additional frosting and candy.

Lauren and Raya, along with 28 other Brookside students, decorated gingerbread houses this week for the Community Youth Development Gingerbread House Village.

“We were spontaneous in joining this year, but I think our houses were really creative,” said Brookside guidance counselor Nicole Sims.

Because of the school’s last-minute decision to participate in the festival, students were only given an hour-and-a-half total to design their sugary dream houses.

“The first day, everybody had kits,” said eighth-grader Julia Stringer. “We got about five gumdrops and a handful of candy that didn’t stick, so we all started bringing stuff in.”

With several bags of gumdrops, marshmallows, pretzels and orange-slice candy, the groups got to work and used trial-and-error to determine the best adhesive. Some students mixed in rubber cement, glue and powdered sugar with their frosting.

“This project was a really good way to meet new people,” said eighth-grader Lucie Blahackova. “It brings everybody together.”

If You Go

Second annual Gingerbread House Festival

Where: Westfield Sarasota Square Mall, JC Penney wing
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4
Cost: $1 donation
Information: Call 922-5126 or visit

Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].



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