Empty, individual-size milk cartons could be fodder for the landfill or, in some imaginative classrooms, they could be gingerbread houses. Five Moton Elementary School third-grade classes chose the latter option, creating colorful, gooey treats to take home.
"We do this every year," said teacher Sophia Lynch. "We've done this for the past 10 years for their enjoyment and a tradition."
Lynch and third-grade teachers Gale Reed, Alice LaPlaca, Kim Ellis, Stacey Monroe, Jan Walker and Diana Lichenwalter had their students save their milk cartons, which were sanitized and made ready for the sloppy, sticky icing.
The cartons were placed on plastic foam trays donated by the Brooksville Publix. The children were given cans of vanilla icing, which they spread over the carton, along with their hands, faces and an occasional shirt.
The next step was placing the graham cracker pieces on the frosting and then frosting those. What did Matthew Null, 8, like? "When you get frosting on your hand, you get to lick it!"
The icing was Terrionna Holland's favorite part of the fun, too. When she finished hers, she said, "I'm going to take it home and share it with someone."
The next step was adding the color: M&Ms, Dots, candy canes, red licorice sticks, mini marshmallows and Red Hots. That was 8-year-old Mackinzie Garland's favorite part, "Putting all the decorations on."
Brent Williams, 8, whose grandmother Tanja Gause donated some very necessary paper towels, couldn't come up with a favorite part. He liked "pretty much the entire thing," he said. "I'm going to take it home so my family gets to see it."
The teachers counted on parents to help with the supplies and they were not disappointed. Most items were donated and, Lynch said, "The parents have been generous. We all do appreciate that."
Parent Michelle Garland was at the school to assist. "I think it's wonderful for the kids to use their imaginations and they get to eat the candy, get messy and I love Moton," she said. "This is such a wonderful school."