On a Saturday morning in mid-January a group of women from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in Columbia, S.C., were thrilled to host students from kindergarten through sixth grade for the local 2020 Block Kids competition.
Each year, NAWIC members in Columbia join their counterparts across the country by participating in the Block Kids Building Program, a fun and rewarding effort designed to introduce young students to the AEC industry. Block Kids gives participants an opportunity to be the architect, engineer and the contractor as they design their own buildings and interview with professionals in the industry on how their creation could be utilized. A handful of volunteer judges assess the projects and select the winners for each grade as well as an overall winner.
Block Kids contestants incorporate knowledge they gain from their educational experiences, together with scenarios they have witnessed, to bring their visions to life. Nichole Kopenhaver, assistant project manager for McCrory Construction and current president of NAWIC Columbia’s (Chapter #113), noted the wide variety of creations by the kids over the years – from designs depicting safe evacuation from multiple stories, to water and sewer treatment facilities, to tunnel excavation equipment and numerous cranes. The 2020 Block Kids event included a drone demonstration and how these devices are utilized in the construction industry.
The venue for this year’s competition was the Green Charter School of the Midlands in Irmo, S.C. “This partnership with the Green Charter School made sense for our chapter. The staff and teachers were gracious to host the competition and encouraged their students to participate, along with other students from local public, private, charter and homeschooling programs,” said Kopenhaver.
2020 NAWIC-Columbia Block Kids Building Program Winners:
Alexis McGannon — 4th grade winner and Overall winner
Reagan Poore — Kingergarten winner
Addiline VanderHeide — 1st grade winner
Zachary Losee — 2nd grade winner
Sarah Knapp — 3rd grade winner
Jack Harlow — 5th grade winner
Yonathan Holiday — 6th grade winner
NAWIC-Columbia’s overall winner, Alexis McGannon, designed and built a Mobile Residential Wrecking Crane. Kopenhaver noted, “Alexis not only built her wrecking crane, but she used all materials she was permitted by competition guidelines to set a full scene which included building a partially demolished house with building debris. She went above and beyond to incorporate a safety aspect which is crucial in our industry with safety screens to block any debris from damaging surrounding structures.”
NAWIC-Columbia meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month (excluding July and December). All women working in and around the industry are encouraged to check out NAWIC by attending an upcoming event. Please visit www.nawiccolumbia.org for more information.