School Bulletin: Kenosha gingerbread tradition expands

School Bulletin: Kenosha gingerbread tradition expands

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A holiday tradition in the Kenosha Unified School District continues into its 15th year. Michelle Ishmael Wright, the German teacher, challenges students to test their baking skills with a European custom and make a gingerbread house. 

"So much of what we do here in the United States [during the holidays] actually comes from the German culture,” Ishmael Wright says. 

This year the annual gingerbread contest turned into a showcase and was expanded to include the entire district. But one rule remained: the cookie creations must be entirely edible. Ishmael Wright shared her family recipe for gingerbread and frosting, but she says even she deviates from tradition. 

“My gingerbread house is a snack shop for a hockey rink, and then I made the hockey team,” Ishmael Wright says. 

The teacher also encourages families to use kits, candy and store-bought cookie dough – anything to help the creativity. 

“We bust out all the candy and Halloween leftovers and just have fun,” Ishmael Wright says. “Usually, it turns into a mess. You know you get that one boy who wants to make a disaster house.” 

The district’s German program went virtual a few years ago, but Ishmael Wright says keeping the gingerbread tradition alive has been an important tool to connect with students. 

“[The students] don’t get to see one another face-to-face. We don’t get to have any fun games or classroom activities,” Ishmael Wright explains. “Doing the gingerbread house contest is one way to bring them together...and let them live the culture and the language.” 

You can see this year’s gingerbread houses and more HERE. 

If you know a remarkable student, teacher or school making a difference in your community – contact CBS 58 to be featured in the next School Bulletin. 

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