Gingerbread houses: a ‘sweet’ tradition

Anne Marie Amacher
Mark Echols helps Malcom Roach with this gingerbread house activity at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport on Dec. 5.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Parents or other family members joined third-graders at John F. Kennedy Catholic School to build on a more than 30-year tradition of making gingerbread houses. Mary Wahlig, who started the tradition, retired two years ago. The tradition took a break due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

Third-graders and their helpers gathered in the cafeteria Dec. 5 to assemble their sweet treats. The school provided the cardboard base and a clean, empty milk carton for support in the center. Food coloring also was available. Families brought the remaining gingerbread house-building materials: graham crackers, frosting and all the decorations from colorful candy, crackers and ice cream cones to pretzels and chocolates.

Third-grade teachers Linda Vogel and Jasmine Bowman walked around the room to talk with students and to ask whether they had additional needs for the building project. Vogel said her children participated in the tradition when they attended JFK and she has always enjoyed the activity. In earlier years, the students displayed their gingerbread houses at school. Now the parents or other family members take home the gingerbread houses because it was challenging for students who rode the bus to transport the gingerbread houses home, Vogel said.


This year, many more parents were present for the gingerbread house project. Third-grader Malcom Roach said the project was fun “and tastes good.” Mila Herrera, Henry Schmitt and Stevens Fernando agreed that the project was fun to do and they would love to do more hands-on-type of activities.

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