Pun-believable Wins for Cougars and Charity

Text and photos by Chandler S. ’17
with Michael Schwartz ’98

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the nine builders of Country Day’s Canstruction crew headed out to build their final sculpture at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, where they faced off against the rest of the teams in regional competition.

It was a good day for Cougars and charity alike. For the first time since the school began competing in Canstruction almost a decade ago, LCDS took home the Structural Integrity Award, the Judges’ Favorite Award and the People’s Choice Award. But more importantly, the team gave away more than 2,000 cans of food to support Project Share and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.


Diane Wilikofsky founded the Country Day team in 2005. The local event is part of a nationwide effort that has collected more than 17 million pounds of food  to help feed the hungry since its 1992 inception.

Canstruction begins with an school-wide open call for design ideas in the fall, which then become scaled clay models and finally the exhibited sculpture. After looking through the designs, a group of volunteer judges selects the most creative, fun and plausible submission for the group to build. For the past four years, the Country Day team has been fortunate enough to get some professional help from Sidney Kime, a landscape architect with the ELA Group in Lititz.

This year’s design was called “Toucans Can Make a Difference” and was created by Phoebe S. ’22, Darby S. ’18, and Emma S ’18. The sculpture consisted of 2,142 cans of food that added up to $1,854.20. Each year, the funds that support the sculpture and competition are raised through the annual food drive in January. Lower, Middle and Upper school students are asked to donate a division-specific type of can, or kick in $3.50 if they’d prefer to avoid any heavy lifting.

The event consistently succeeds in bringing in a substantial amount of both cash and cans.

“One of the great things about our school is the generosity of our students, parents, faculty and staff,” Wilikofsky said. “Canstruction would not be possible without everyone’s generosity and support. So I am always grateful that our community makes it possible for our team to participate in this project.”

The crew at the final build in Harrisburg included eight Middle School students and one freshman, by far the youngest squad Wilikofsky has ever fielded. “I was a little nervous about that at first,” Wilikofsky said. “But the older students really did take charge and the sixth-graders I just couldn’t have done without.”

Building took all day and the team arrived back at school just in time to make the buses. (Obviously, time had to be budgeted for a stop at the famous Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop on the way home for a treat at the end of the successful day.) A panel of seven judges appraised each of the sculptures and awarded the entries a variety of honors, such as the Best Use of Labels Award and the Best Meal Award.

Country Day’s Structural Integrity Award recognized that the school’s sculpture was the most difficult to build, and “Toucans” also won the hearts of the audience as well as the jurors by taking home the Juror’s Favorite and People’s Choice awards.

Mrs. Wilikofsky expresses her approval of the success the team earned this year by saying, “This year I thought we had a very strong design and a fantastic title for our sculpture.”

As every year, all the cans used in each of the four sculptures built in the competition were donated to Project Share, a food bank located in Carlisle, Pa. Project Share is a member of the Central PA Food Bank.

Canstruction provides a creative and beneficial activity and learning environment for students in sixth grade and up. It helps develop team work and social skills as well as providing a creative outlet for students. The donations and assistance received in the process of Canstruction benefits the community and is very much appreciated!

For more information, visit www.canstruction.org.