Juvenile Detention Center Whips Up Annual Gingerbread House Competition

Gingerbread houses
Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 4:48pm

Twenty-one high school-aged juveniles at Alexander Juvenile Detention Center recently competed in the center's annual gingerbread house competition. Nutrition Supervisor Beverly Cash coordinated the efforts by baking homemade gingerbread. Each student was given an unassembled gingerbread house, white frosting,assorted candies and 2.5 hours to create their masterpieces. Teacher John Hendrix primed the students' creativity by showing them a video of this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition held annually at the Omni-Grove Park Inn in Asheville. 

bulletin boardThe student’s gingerbread houses were put on display and voted on by support staff to award a first, second, and third place. The student body and all staff members then voted on one overall winner. The winners were rewarded with a special dinner from the Taylorsville Bojangles.

The students also made gingerbread men to go with their gingerbread houses, and wrote a journal entry about the experience. Some of the comments shared how much they enjoyed the experience, the time allowed to be creative, and were expressions of appreciation for being allowed to make a gingerbread house. Though participating in crafts is not a typical juvenile detention center activity, Alexander JDC Director Kimberley Cowart, feels that crafting is a valuable tool to use in students’ personal growth.

The comments student’s made include: “I enjoyed making the gingerbread house; it made me think about what I want my house to look like next year.” “We had to use our imagination.” “Making the gingerbread houses was fun and gave us a chance to get in the Christmas cheer.” “Making the gingerbread houses was awesome; I hope we can do it again.”

The majority of the students currently housed at the Alexander Juvenile Detention Center will be spending the Christmas holiday in detention. Student’s typically become homesick while in the detention center and these feelings intensify during the holiday season. To help ease the stress on the families, Cowart hosted a Christmas Fellowship last week so parents and grandparents could come in and visit their loved one. The beautiful gingerbread houses were the table centerpieces for the event. Following the family event, the families were allowed to take their child’s gingerbread house home as a Christmas gift from their child.


Stacy Gibson, Alexander Juvenile Detention Center