By Megan Truong (Class of 2021)
Photography by Ms. Lee (World Religions Instructor)
At the beginning of the school year, the Junior and Senior World Religions class was invited to hold a project in which they would raise funds to purchase canned food, use the cans to construct a religious structure, and submit their creation to a charity organization called Canstruction®. The Canstruction organization brings people together to design, build, and exhibit giant structures made using cans, which are then donated to local food banks.
The class devoted several class periods to this project, brainstorming and planning what times they would hold fundraisers, how they would garner attention, and ultimately what they would build. Amidst their preparations, the project was extended to the Junior High and High School. This called for more funds and cans.
Beginning in October, fundraisers were held quite frequently by the students, who took turns holding booths on the weekends and after school. Using funds amounting to over $1,000, trips to the grocery store became quite common, with the students hauling nearly 2,000 cans to the school in total. Not only was the project announced in the CTTB community, students who held the DVGS Radio Hour were able to introduce the project to the people of Ukiah.
As Winter Break came around, the school gathered to finalize the structures that each group would build: the 7th-8th grade students assembled a structure that showcased multiple religious symbols; the freshmen and sophomores built a Papal tiara, or a Pope’s hat; the juniors and seniors were challenged by Jin Jr Shi to construct CTTB’s Mountain Gate. With anticipation and excitement, the assembly process began during the last week before Winter Break in the IITBT building, where the exhibition would be held. Everyone worked together and communicated their suggestions so that all of the structures would both have structural integrity and also achieve the desired appearance.
The structures were showcased during the school’s annual Winter Banquet and were then deconstructed by the students following the event. Though it was sad to see their hard work taken apart, they knew that all of the food would be donated to food banks to help those in need, which made the project worthwhile. With all the cans loaded into vans, a fulfilling holiday season for those in need could begin.
Special thanks to Ms. Lee for advising and supervising the project, Jin Jr Shi for taking time to drive out and buy cans, the school for taking care of the registration fee, the PTO for providing funds, and lastly to everyone in the community who contributed to the project!