ST. GEORGE — Students demonstrated their creative skills Friday afternoon during the second annual Block Kids Building Competition at Career Tech High School.
Fifth grade student Ray Larsen came out on top, claiming victory with his entry No. 49 project of a house with construction equipment, including a bulldozer pushing a boulder.
“It feels really good … (to) be one step closer to the national building competition,” Ray said. “Just a really good feeling.”
Larsen attends Riverside Elementary and has been building with Legos since he was about 5 years old.
His parents, Chris and Katie Larsen of Washington City, said he was excited to come and just build something. They didn’t know if he would win but could tell by his face and energy that he was excited when his name was called.
Besides building Lego masterpieces, he also likes to play basketball and baseball. And he says he loves his school.
Photos of Ray’s winning project will be submitted on the national level where he will have a chance to compete for that title. The national competition winners will be announced in August 2024.
There were awards for first through fifth place and for honorable mentions.
Over 70 kids registered for the event and had 40 minutes to complete their projects without parent or adult supervision or help.
Additionally, students were only allowed to use the materials they were given, primarily Lego blocks. They could use a minimum of 75 blocks or a maximum of 100 blocks, and each block had to have two, four, six, eight or 10 posts. They were not allowed any specialty pieces such as wheels, doors, windows, people or animals.
The creators were allowed to use three of four other materials: small rock, string, tin foil and construction paper. They could not build anything that represented people or animals.
Each entrant received a fluorescent yellow safety vest with a yellow hard hat while they constructed their contest entries. These vests not only added to the fun but helped judges recognize the kids who were participants in the contest, Associated General Contractors of Utah Administrative Assistant Tawny Staker said.
After the time expired, each participant was interviewed about their project as part of the judging process.
Staker said it was great to have the event back after taking a break in 2022 while the company remodeled its offices.
After another successful competition, event coordinator and district manager Kathy Tolleson said they would be doing this event every year.
Besides the contest, students had a pizza lunch, played games and chatted with sponsors allowing them to learn more about the construction career.Parents were able to stay and participate in the games and watch the competition.
(L-R) Overall winners Ray Larsen (first), Olivia Webb (second), Lincoln Shakespeare (third), Trapper Southworth (fouth) and Aurelia June Mercier-Nielsen (fifth) at the Block Kids Building Contest at Career Tech High School, St. George, Utah, Oct. 27, 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News
The following winners announced by Tolleson received multiple prizes including trophies, gift cards, candy and toy vehicles:
First place: Ray Larsen, $100 gift card.
Second place: Olivia Webb, $50 gift card.
Third Place: Lincoln Shakespeare, $25 gift card.
Fourth Place: Trapper Southworth, $20 gift card.
Fifth Place: Aurelia June Mercier-Nielsen, $15 gift card.
Kindergarten: Copelan Brogly
First grade: Silas Barney
Second grade: Jayven Barlow
Third grade: Clark Brailsford
Fourth grade: Jett Carter
Fifth grade: Blake Nelson
The judges were from multiple businesses and organizations that focus on such things as construction, technology, science and engineering. Many of them were associated with the sponsors of the event. These included JP Excavating, TechRidge, Watts Construction, Dixie Tech College, Larson Plumbing, Utah Barricade, Southern Utah Home Builders Association, Bikers Against Child Abuse, The St. George Area Chamber of Commerce and The St. George Children’s Museum.
The main sponsors were the Associated General Contractors of Utah, the National Association of Women in Construction and Career Tech High School.
In March 2024, Tolleson said they will be holding a construction career fair at the same location to continue efforts in partnership with the school to promote the construction industry.
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