Mayor to judge St. Dominic School snow fort contest

HUMBOLDT — Michael Behiel, Humboldt’s mayor, will be judging a brand new contest at St. Dominic School where each class is attempting to build the best snow fort.

Cynthie Gaetz, a teacher for Grade 6 and 7, said the idea was started by one of her students after a conflict over a snow fort the Grade 7 class made.

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“Normally, forts are a big fight in schools because people knock [them] down, people don’t let people in, and so quite often they get banned very quickly in schools,” Gaetz said. “With the different domes, and how everyone is so separated this year, my class was able to start a very decent fort.”

Gaetz said the fights came soon after.

“One of my students, Christian Yager started talking to the principal, Chad Knaus,” she said. “So Christian and Mr. Knaus came up with an idea to start the fort competition.”

Gaetz’s class took the intuitive on, creating a set of rules and judging criteria.

These rules include staying COVID-19 safe, using nice words, working together, and not stealing snow from another class’ zone.

“If they’re not following [the rules] they get banned a day or two from the fort, depending on what they’re doing,” she said. “Each fort will get a total score.”

The judging rubric includes the highest walls, size of the fort’s interior, number of rooms, creativity, stability and strength.

Gaetz said the classes are working on them during recesses and break times, which has been helping cut down on the physical interaction between students while ensuring that they keep having fun.

“At the beginning of the year we had a lot of kids that were really sad because they have to be so split up with trying to be COVID safe, so there are some that are just in the field normally,” Gaetz said.

“The playgrounds were always full when that class was allowed on. Now I’m finding recesses and lunch hours when I’m going out there… there is no one on the playground, they’re all out there in the field – but they’re in their designated zone.”

Each separate class has their own snow fort and zone, but within that class Gaetz assured that each student is staying safe.

While some students collect the snow and carry it on a sled, others are laying the blocks and building it up.

“If they’re building close to each other, then they wear their masks.”

Gaetz said as a result students are having fun and working together. While there are still fights, she said now they’re able to work through it.

“The rules help and the competition really helps, but a lot of the feedback is I’m seeing a lot of joy in them. Recess can be hard enough in winter, especially when you have to be separated, especially when you have a split class. So I’m finding a lot of joy within the students.”

Judging will take place on Dec. 17.

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