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Tech students continue sweet tradition
new vlc Tech students project close up pix
Great Bend High School students in Jake Hofflingers Advanced Production Blueprint Reading and Mass Production classes built this candy and frosting model of Great Bends Walmart shopping center for a much anticipated end-of-semester project. For the past eight years, the Education Foundation has provided a grant to Hofflinger to support the project that helps students incorporate many of the skills learned in class into a team-led project. - photo by VERONICA COONS Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend High School once again took making a gingerbread house to a whole new level this month.  
Students in two sections of Advanced Production Blueprint Reading, and a Mass Production course, taught by technology teacher Jake Hofflinger at Great Bend High School took part in the eighth annual construction of a candy model of local architecture.  
While all the rest of the projects Hofflinger assigns are set parts of the curriculum, students who help with the candy project get to vote on what building the group will recreate.  They assemble a list and then vote.  Some possibilities this year included the zoo, the sports complex, the Highrise and the airport and drag strip. But the one that received the overwhelming majority of vote was the Walmart shopping area on 10th Street.  
“There was more detail, and it was a bigger challenge,” sophomore Curtis Moore said.  “There was more opportunity for more people to work on it.”  
Sophomore Jordan Stoulio said a lot of preliminary work went into the project.  First, they started with detailed two-dimensional drawing of the overall plan.  Then, they began building, using a variety of materials including pretzels, candy and frosting.  Two full carts containing bags of all types of confection were used for the  6’ x 4’ x 5” proportional model of the Walmart building, several fast food establishments, a strip of retail stores, and extensive parking facilities.  
The teams used many of the skills they learned in class, as well as other “21st century skills” like working as a team to achieve a goal,  or how to read, interoperate, draw and build from blueprints.
 Hofflinger’s freshmen students learn many of these skills during their first year of classes, and then can take part in their second year.  “They learn to use an architect’s scale,” he said.  “They learn layout, design, fractions, construction methods and model building techniques.”
Sophomore Jazmine Curtiss created a molded white chocolate sign for the big box store, using laser cutting, vacuum mold making and casting skills.  
“You have to be precise, look off the picture and do it exactly how it is,” she learned.  “We had to be neat with the frosting too, so it looks crisp.”
Students fought temptation daily, making sure not to consume their building materials.  To help, Hofflinger introduce the production term “broken stock.”
“Broken stock is fun,” said Jose Baetrus,  “When we try and build something and it would either fall apart or we would break it.  We’d put it in stockpile at the corner of the project, and at the end of the hour, we ate it.”
Thanks to a grant from the Education Foundation, Hofflinger has been able to continue offering this project over the years.  Thursday, students put the finishing touches--details on the Autozone sign and some parking lot details.  It will be on display Friday.
“The kids eat it when the bell rings to end the day on Friday,” he said.  “Every year a group of students will stay late and pick out the “good stuff” as I am cleaning the area up.”