by Will Li (’23) | November 19, 2021
Most of the time, Mr. Ikezi’s Room 108 resembles any other science classroom at Saint Francis, only with the addition of a magnificent UCLA banner and a plethora of physics gadgets. But every other Friday at 2:30 P.M., the room is reshuffled and voilà — it is transformed into a Lego laboratory!
At Builders’ Club meetings, students can freely and independently play with Lego bricks. “You can come in whenever you want, there are no requirements, and it doesn’t matter when you join,” explained board member Justin Aldor (’23).
“[Builders’] Club doesn’t require a huge commitment,” said builder Brooke Baker (’23). “There’s very little pressure to make anything extraordinary, and I can just be creative.”
The nostalgia of assembling Lego constructions beckons to students as well. “I see a lot of pieces and sets that I used to play with,” said Aldor. “It brings me back to a better time.”
Meetings also provide students with a haven from their often stressful academic lives. “After a week of summatives and textbook readings, it’s a nice change of pace,” Aldor continued.
Yet the club includes more than just regular building sessions. Originally founded in 1999 under the title of “Science and Engineering Club,” it hosted numerous science-related activities, such as stargazing nights and sci-fi movie showings.
Science and Engineering Club also hosted Lego Build Days in the past, just with lower frequency.
But over the years, a multitude of new clubs emerged and began hosting the same activities as Science and Engineering Club. As “little pieces were taken away,” the club “narrowed down,” prompting a name change for the 2021-22 school year, according to Mr. Ikezi.
The core component the board and moderator sought to preserve was the club’s informal atmosphere. “We just want the club to be fun and social where kids who like this sort of stuff can meet other people and hang out,” he explained.
However, the revamping process encountered challenges when senior board members graduated. And with the pandemic, Builders’ Club has not “been able to recruit” enough participants for potential events, Mr. Ikezi added. “We’re still in our rebuilding phase.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Ikezi aspires to host special events this year, such as Lego competitions where participants attempt to assemble “the tallest building” or a construction that can “withstand an earthquake.”
He also intends to revive the renowned twenty-year tradition of milk carton boat races during springtime, where students race back and forth across Saint Francis’ pool on boats built from milk cartons. “The winners get their name on a plaque that goes back twenty years. We have hundreds of kids out there,” he explained.
In light of the return to in-person schooling this year, Mr. Ikezi encourages students to donate their old Lego bricks to the club. “We take any donations from anybody. It only adds to the collection of things kids can play with,” he said.
With all the bricks currently at the club’s disposal, builders are excited to construct stupendous structures. “It would be cool to build the Saint Francis campus out of Legos,” said board member Marc Halteh (’23).
“We’ve had kids do massive forts and things that are the size of big desks,” added Mr. Ikezi.
Club leaders also hope that more Lego enthusiasts across all grade levels will join this year.
“It bonds us together with an interest we all share from childhood,” said builder Pranav Amarnath (’23). “I leave [meetings] with a feeling of fulfillment.”