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Gingerbread House building contest benefits Habitat in Monmouth

Article originally featured on by Rob Spahr. -1452b2496956e816.jpg

It wasn't always pretty, but at least everything was edible.

Groups of students and faculty from Marlboro High School squared off against each other Tuesday as part of the school's annual gingerbread house building competition benefiting Habitant for Humanity in Monmouth County.

"You have to be 16 years old to volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity site, so this is a way for our students, many of whom are younger than that, to help out Habitat in a creative and fun way," said Amy Colby, the advisor for the Marlboro High School's Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Money raised from entry fees will be added to other money raised at other fundraisers throughout the year and donated to Habitat for Humanity at the end of the school year.

"Two years after Sandy, there is still an incredible need for what Habitat does. There are still dozens of families in towns like Middletown, Keansburg and Sea Bright who need places to live," Colby said. "This is a small way for our students to help."

The skill level of the contestants – who had just an hour to create gingerbread houses completely out of edible materials – ranged from experienced architects of gingerbread homes to first timers.

"It was fun and for a good cause," said Marlboro student Liz Tsaltskan, after taking part in the competition for the first time. "But we just kind of winged it."

Last year's winners, teachers Shannon Silver and Amanda Amatucci had help from Silver's 9-year-old daughter, Georgia, and 6-year-old daughter, Carolina, with their elaborate gingerbread house creation this year, which included candy coated trees and a candy cane roofing.

"Some years there's a lot of other teachers here with their kids," Silver said. "It can get a little crazy, because everything has to be done within the hour, but it's part of the fun."

After the hour was over, a panel of Marlboro High School alumni judged the creations and named the team of students Katie McPolin, Liz Tsaltskan and Naomi Gabizon this year's winners. The team was awarded a variety of gift cards to local businesses for their victory.

"To be honest, we're just happy it's still standing," McPolin said.

Link to the complete article and pictures here.