Menchville’s ‘Can’-do Spirit Shines at YVC Canstructure


Courtesy of Pete Mercier

Menchville’s final structure says “Thank You” to service members

Saturday, April 22nd, Menchville High School participated in the sixth annual Canstructure event, sponsored by the Hampton Roads Youth Volunteer Corps. Though Menchville did not win an award for their design, the team donated an estimated 2,400 cans-worth of food, and took the opportunity to spread awareness about food insecurity in the community.

Canstructure is a fundraiser competition for the local Peninsula Food Bank. Schools raise money and buy cans, which are used as construction materials in the event. Teams ranging from elementary school to high school build structures that fit the competition theme – the only catch being that the structures must be entirely made of paper-covered food donations. After the competition, all the canned food used is donated to the Peninsula Food Bank to help feed those in need.

Menchville’s Canstructure team consisted of fourteen students- 3 freshmen and 11 juniors, under the guidance of Assistant Activities Director Kyle Lumsden and English Teacher Allison Nuckols. The 2,400 cans used in competition were purchased using funds from the Lead2Feed account and various fundraisers throughout the year including Menchville’s Got Talent, Menchville Rocks and Art Show. In total, the food donation was worth an estimated $1,700 dollars.

Courtesy of Pete Mercier
(From left to right) Mackenzie Mason, Emma Ferguson, Lewis McAllister, Edward Jones, and Nathan Forlow sort their building materials early in the competition.

The Canstructure theme this year was “Honoring American Heroes,” a tribute to U.S. armed forces and their service. To do the theme justice, Menchville students constructed a scene of cans featuring a 5×4 foot American flag, a banner spelling out “Thank You,” hearts, and a column with Sargent stripes. The entrants, in accordance with the theme, were judged partially by former and current service members, who appreciated Menchville’s message.

Menchville did not place in the high school division of Canstructure, but was narrowly beat out by Denbigh high school, who constructed a tank with 3,000 cans-worth of food donations. Though they did not win for their structure, the Menchville team showed excellent sportsmanship. Gildersleeve Middle School, Menchville’s feeder school, was struggling with their soldier design during construction. The Menchville students, noticing the younger students’ problems, happily gave them cans to help them finish their structure.

Courtesy of Pete Mercier
Sarah Riske builds up the American Flag as Edward Jones, Sarah Roberts, and Nathan Forlow hand their teammate cans.

Said Nuckols on the act of kindness, “I don’t think the Gildersleeve team was maybe as prepared as we were, so of course we helped out.”

The successful can collection by Menchville will likely be the last Lead2Feed project for the 2016-2017 school year. However, the end to Lead2Feed this year does not mean the end to Menchville’s community service. The Backpack Program and Menchville’s Food Pantry Program will still provide opportunities for community outreach throughout the year. Said Nuckols, “Menchville is really known for its community service- because of what we do both with Lead2Feed and what we do within the school.”