Gingerbread contest creates community spirit

December 8, 2023
Story and Photos by Cat Cutillo
Social Media and Community Content Specialist


Gingerbread contest creates community spirit

See a gallery of photos by Cat Cutillo

Twelve teams of first-year students gathered in the Purposeful Learning Office on Wednesday to compete in the annual “Father Mike Cronogue First-Year Gingerbread Contest.” The packed room vacillated between erupting laughter and laser-focused concentration as students molded snow people out of Rice Krispies Treats, dripped icicle frosting from their gingerbread roofs and dotted walkways with rainbow gum drops.

“I want to eat the gingerbread,” one maker said.

Another half-joked that “there’s a lot of money on the line,” referring to the fact that each member of the winning team would receive a $50 gift card.

Builders snuck samples from their raw materials as they worked for exactly 90 minutes to create their masterpieces. One group molded a mini-Saint Michael out of Rice Krispies Treats and frosting and mounted the figure on a pair of skis while another smashed up a bag of candy canes to create a peppermint walkway.

This is the second year Purposeful Learning, Residence Life and MOVE have teamed up and facilitated the contest for first-year students. The tradition is a tribute to Fr. Michael Cronogue, who died in 2016 and was known for gathering annually with a group of friends from the Saint Michael’s community to create gingerbread houses.

“When Michael died suddenly in 2016, it was in October and there was this big gap in peoples’ feelings and emotions…It turned into a big tribute to Michael around the holiday season every year,” Fr. Michael Carter said at the event.

Heidi St. Peter, the Director of Purposeful Learning, said, “There’s that magic, that spirit, of what Saint Michael’s has always been about, which is connecting with people and being together.”

On Thursday, all twelve of the finished gingerbread houses were on display in the Alliot Student Center for community members to vote on their favorites. In the end, Team Six was voted the winning team, which was comprised of Bella Franchi ’27, Ruby Santos ’27, Ashlee Talbot ’27.

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