Middlesex Middle School 'can' help fight hunger

Middlesex Middle School's "Canstruction Club" recently designed and built a replica of the Hoover Dam (to "Stop The Flow of Hunger") out of 1,440 food items they will later donate to the Stamford Food Bank. James Hall, an architect from Brooks & Falotica Associates in New Canaan, worked with the students in this year-long project to design and build the dam.

Canstruction is a nonprofit organization that holds annual design and construction competitions of elaborate and enormous structures made entirely out of canned food. The purpose of these competitions is to raise awareness of the plight of the hungry in local communities. At the end of each Canstruction competition, all the food is donated to local food banks.

During this school year, the Middlesex students worked with Hall to design seven initial Canstruction ideas. They then narrowed down their choices to three that were made into 3D models and ultimately chose the replica of the Hoover Dam as their final project. Throughout the design selection process, the students were challenged to use only positive comments to critique the various prototype designs.

The Middlesex Canstructon Club advisor, sixth grade teacher MaryEllen Flaherty-Ludwig, believes the students not only learned design and building skills in this club but also learned valuable lessons in how to manage rejection and success in the creative process. Eighth grader Katie Jarrett, co-captain of the Canstruction team, said the students "looked forward to seeing what new projects we could make and what project would be cut."

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This year's Canstruction Competition in Connecticut took place in Hartford on Monday, May 14. The Middlesex Canstruction Club's Hoover Dam was not part of the competition since it took place on a school day. The Hoover Dam, however, will be on display in the Middlesex Rotunda until the food is donated to the Stamford Food Bank.

Members of the Middlesex Canstruciton Club are: Sebastian Czaja, Christian Duvick (captain), Grace Harmon, Carter Hollis, Katie Jarrett (captain), Hailey Meier, Timothy Nessel, Teddy Nolan, Carly Rutledge, Andrew Starovoitov and Jacob Velasco-Navarro.