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Fifth-grader Austin Aranel appears deep in concentration as he worked on the roof of his gingerbread house Friday morning. More than 260 children at Windham Center School took part in the tasty holiday tradition. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

Sweet tradition: Windham kids make gingerbread houses

WINDHAM - Visions of sugarplums danced in the heads of fifth-graders Friday morning when their grade at Windham Center School participated in a popular holiday indulgence.

Using graham crackers, candies, cookies and frosting, the students created gingerbread houses, castles and cabins.

The school currently has around 263 fifth-graders, according to teacher Trisha Bouley, who serves as fifth-grade team leader.

A popular event at the school for the past several decades, Bouley said her own daughter once made a gingerbread house at the Center School. That daughter is now a senior in high school."It's definitely a tradition going back many years here," Bouley said.

Around 100 parents and teachers were on hand to assist with this year's event, held in the school cafeteria. Businesses donated many of the building "supplies," with Hood Dairy providing the milk cartons used as foundations for the houses, while the local Shaw's supermarket provided the cardboard trays that were filled to the brim with candy canes, peppermints and gumdrops. Parents donated all the edible building materials.

Bouley said the overall experience isn't only tasty - it's also quite educational as many factors can be tied into the math curriculum."We try to encourage the kids to make graphs using the amount of gumdrops used, for example, " she noted.

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