Since 2004, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School has been running their Gingerbread House Program. This event was initiated thirteen years ago, by now retired teacher Diana Sysiuk. She brought the idea from her previous school and was impressed with how well the students and staff of Blessed Sacrament responded. The program is geared towards primary students and is a week- long process. “First parent volunteers come in and make the dough with the students” explains Principal Joe Ernst. The students and volunteers meet in the gymnasium to mix and work the dough. Then the adult volunteers take home the raw cookie dough to prepare it for construction. “Parents do all the baking.” Continues Principal Ernst, who expressed his appreciation for the volunteer hours given each year to this program. Once baked, the cookies are returned to the school and primary students, along with parents, teachers and grade 8 helpers, all work together to make Gingerbread houses. The creations are then decorated with candy and icing and at the end of the day, every child will take home their own custom Gingerbread House. “It’s a lot of work” explains Diana Sysiuk, who, though now retired, still volunteers with the program. “But everyone pitches in and it ends up being a lot of fun.” A great deal of organization goes into the development of this program, but the impressive number of parent volunteers, helpful older students and teachers who were getting in there and having fun, spoke to the success and importance of a program like this. This program is a festive way to gear up for the holiday season and the students will have their own artistic treat to eat over the holidays!