BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
UNION CITY (October 29) – Dresden High and Westview’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Clubs’ entries in Discovery Park of America’s CANstruction event last week received recognition and will result in additional food for the hungry in Weakley County.
Twelve teams of middle school and high school students, the largest number competing since the DPA first hosted in 2017, were given $500 to purchase the canned goods required and three hours to build a previously-designed, themed construction. Teams were allowed to have can drives and fundraisers to purchase more cans.
DHS STEM Club received Honorable Mention for Best Meal, meaning the items used in the construction of the structure students named “25 Cent Wish” have the potential for providing the best full meal for families.
Advisor Rachel Abbott said the concept is a gumball machine made of 670 canned food items. The description of the structure notes that the students chose the theme based on their memories as children of placing a quarter in the machine slot and wishing for a blue gumball out of all the others.
Abbott noted, “This is the first event that the DHS STEM Club has participated in. We’re excited about how it turned out and are looking forward to many more events together!”
Westview STEM Club’s design, “Sink Hunger,” used 1,768 food cans to sculpt the Titanic, complete with lifeboats and surrounding icebergs. Their entry earned them the Juror’s Choice Design Award. This year marks three years of participating in the event.
Advisor Laura Sterrett explains that included with the chance to compete and address hunger comes students’ hands-on opportunities to lean into 3D visualization.
“You have to use the cans for color and to show dimension. Using the size and the shape of the cans in a 3D order is actually pretty challenging,” she said.
DHS team members were Jacey McClure; Jaiden Mangiarcinia, Bryce Wilson; Ryeson Greer, Zack Boyd; Jayden Brewer, Brandon Winstead; Merrisa Harrison, Mark Maddox; Hailey Wise, LeeAnne Moorefield, Grant Turner, Jacey Mangiarcinia. Parker Ferrell, Paige Mallon, Theron Cogburn, Eva Stafford, and Cadence Scott.
Westview team members included Samantha Bates, Alyssa Chua, Cannon Elliott, Jacob Foltz, Amy Kang, Christopher Ostenson, Joseph Roupe, Nicholas Sterrett, Hunter Terrell, and Chase Winschel.
The sculptures will be on display at Discovery Park for one month and then the cans will be distributed to food-based charities in Weakley, Obion, and Dyer Counties.
The DPA event is sponsored by Carol and Bill Latimer, Ben E. Keith Foods, Westan Insurance Group and Forcum Lannom Materials. Canstruction® is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, students, and others compete by building structures out of canned food. Founded in 1992 by the late Cheri Melillo and her colleagues from the Society for Design Administration, the first official competition was held in November 1993. Since then, over 50 million pounds of food have been donated.