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Winners of annual Can Do Good competition honor Townville Elementary victim

March 16, 2017 · Community

YLA Can Do Good Check Prez Feature Image edit

Youth Leadership Academy of South Carolina won the regional competition for the second year in a row, choosing to honor the memory of Townville Elementary first grader Jacob Hall through their design.

GMC recognized Youth Leadership Academy in Pickens, S.C., as the winner of the 2016-17 Can Do Good Competition for the sixth through 12th grade division at a check presentation assembly on Wednesday, March 17, 2017. This was the school’s second year in a row to win the regional competition.

Through their Can Do Good design this year, the students chose to honor the memory of Jacob Hall, the 6-year-old boy killed in the Townville Elementary School shooting less than an hour away from Youth Leadership Academy. When describing the inspiration behind their Can Do Good structure, the students said, “Jacob loved superheroes, so the community showed support by wearing superhero shirts for him. We wanted to continue that support by honoring Jacob in our design. His favorite superhero was Batman, so we decided to do the Batman symbol as our design to honor him.”

YLA Can Do Good Townville Strong Team Photo

The structure featured the Batman symbol with Jacob’s name spelled out across the front and the words “Townville Strong” written across the top of the backdrop.

GMC Regional Vice President Kevin Laird presented the school with a check for $1,000, in addition to a check to United Christian Ministries to match YLA’s donation. All in all, YLA donated more than 1,250 cans to the food bank.

YLA was among the top three schools that received the most votes during the online voting portion of the competition advancing them to the finals. The finalists’ structures were reviewed by a panel of GMC staff and judged based on overall theme, aesthetics, structural soundness, level of difficulty and creativity.

Kevin Laird YLA Presentation 1

Through the 2016-17 Can Do Good Competition, more than 12,000 canned goods and non-perishable food items were donated to food banks and charitable organizations throughout the Southeast.

Can Do Good is a social design-build competition created by GMC to provide kindergarten through 12th-grade students with hands-on learning experience and to teach the importance of giving back to the community. Students organize canned food drives and design and build creative structures using the collected items, which are then donated to a local food bank or charitable organization of their choice.