Building a love of construction in Merrick


Local third and fourth-graders on Sunday flexed their creative muscles and got a first taste of the construction world on Jan. 7 at the Block Kids competition, sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction’s Education Foundation.

Held at the Merrick Library, the competition saw 12 students building projects using 100 Lego blocks and three items — a piece of string, a rock, a piece of foil or a piece of paper. The students were challenged with building something related to the construction industry, with no people or animals involved.

“It challenges them to make decisions,” said Priscilla Dujardin, of NAWIC’s Greater New York and Long Island chapter,” and to be creative and imaginative, and to think about the construction industry at an early age.”

Dujardin was one of the judges for the competition, along with other industry professionals, including an engineer and a project manager.

Students built projects involving demolition scenes, bulldozers and cranes, Dujardin said, and “they were all very interesting and creative.”

Fourth-graders Tiffany Yam, Dylan Levinter and Abby Trinkus took First, Second and Third Places, respectively, winning gift cards and Lego kits.

According to Dujardin, Yam will advance to compete in a Northeast regional competition. The First Place-winner of the regional competition will then compete nationally.

This was NAWIC’s Greater New York and Long Island Chapter’s first time running the competition in the third and fourth-grade age group. The organization, which offers networking and support for women in the construction industry, also offers a variety of educational programs at the high school level. Read more at