"The Home Depot was the site of more than a dozen elementary school children creating construction projects with Lego blocks and other building materials as part of an annual Block Kids Building Program sponsored by The Piedmont Chapter of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction).
A wrecking ball and tower under demolition designed and built by Tristan Shields, a fifth grader at Pilot Elementary School took the first place prize. Tristan thinks he might like to be a military engineer when he grows up. Ava Spradley, a fifth grader at Northern won second place in the local contest. Tied for third place were Jacob Kidd, a sixth grader at Northeast Randolph Middle School, and Joshua Snyder, a third grader schooled at home. Among the projects conceived were: an animal shelter with a protective force field made from aluminum foil, a hover craft, a boat, and an oceanic waste treatment plant.
The Block Kids program was created in 1990 to introduce children in grades 1 through 6 to the construction industry. Since launching the program, more than 300,000 children have participated nationwide. Local chapter winning entries advance to NAWIC regional competition, and one semi-finalist from each region is entered in the National Program competition. Each participant is given a set of 90 Lego bricks, a piece of string, a rock, aluminum foil, and one hour to build a project that is in some way related to the construction industry. Each contestant is asked a series of questions about their project and is judged for their use of the materials provided, creativity, enthusiasm, attention to detail, oral presentation, and reason for participating.
This year’s judges were Sterling Bollinger of Lindsey Architecture, Ginna Freyaldenhoven of TFF Architects, Mandi Clift of J Hyatt Hammond, Emily Hinton of Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates, Iris Gen-Gal of ESPA Architects, and Bruce Wolff, consultant. “We were amazed at the creativity, use of color, attention to detail, and appropriate scaling displayed by the young participants” commented Bollinger. The judges seemed to have as much fun as the participants.
“The National Association of Women in Construction is committed to enhancing the success of all women in construction - not just those who are NAWIC members,” says Cindy Johnsen, a past president of NAWIC. “We accomplish this through educational opportunities, networking, and community/industry service projects. If you are a woman employed in any area of the construction industry, we welcome you to join us!”