By: Sam Alexander

The Laramie High School STEM Club is having a competition over who can build the most functional gingerbread house on Dec. 18.

The winner of this competition will be the person who the judges deem has the most functional gingerbread house.

The judges of the competition are the STEM Club advisors: Michael Loveland and Hannah DiRienzo.

DiRienzo and Loveland both oversee and choose the 2020 STEM Club projects.

“Mr. Loveland and I come up with the projects for the kids to participate in and then…organize it so that everything is ready for them,” DiRienzo said.

The project that DiRienzo and Loveland came up with for the students to do in December was creating functional gingerbread houses.

A functional gingerbread house could include many different characteristics, including doors and/or windows that can open.

Other than the fact that the gingerbread house must be functional, there are no specific requirements for the competition, which allows the students participating to be creative and put their STEM skills to the test on Friday, Dec. 18 (the last day of school before winter break).

STEM Club is an LHS club whose goal is to prepare different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) challenges for students to take part in in order to help grow interest and excitement over these subjects.

“Our goal is to do different STEM projects and Engineering projects to help foster excitement for STEM,” DiRienzo said.

As the advisors, Loveland and DiRienzo’s role is to come up with the projects that the kids in STEM Club do and to make sure that the students have all the supplies that they might need to do the projects.

However, this role has slightly changed from what it was in past years.

“In the past years, when it wasn’t COVID, we were just kind of there to help facilitate, so the kids picked the projects they wanted to do and we just made sure that they had the supplies they needed,” DiRienzo said.

DiRienzo and Loveland must take a more active role this year in determining the activities the students do in the club since coronavirus safety protocols limit the number and types of activities that can be done.

Engineering as a subject tends to involve a lot of group work, so because people now must limit the amount of contact in which they come into with one another, certain projects become more or less fitting to work on in clubs and classes relating to the subject.