WKU professor helps kids sculpt sand

Lucas Aulbach

Although this may have been the first time sculpting sand for some Bristow Elementary School sixth-graders, they had Greg Mills, who is a master sculptor, to help guide them.

Mills, a construction management professor at WKU, has been a master sculptor since 2005.

“I’ve picked up a lot of tricks from working with the masters,” he said.

Amid the mounds of sand in the Kids on the Block’s parking lot on Tuesday night, five team members from Bristow Elementary sat and carved their sand cubes to resemble bricks and wood.

The team was practicing for the Festival of Sand competition, which will be at the HH Gregg parking lot from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m  today. The awards will be given out at 5 p.m., said Hillary Halbig, development director of Kids on the Block and WKU graduate.  Cash prizes will be given to the winners.   

HH Gregg is located at 2475 Scottsville Road, and the event is free to attend.

The festival is Kids on the Block’s biggest public fundraiser, Halbig said. This is the 10th year for the event.

Kids on the Block is a local non-profit educational programming center for elementary students, said Halbig.

During the festival, teams compete to construct the best sand structure that fits with the theme, she said.

This year’s theme is celebration and will commemorate 25 years of service to the Bowling Green area, Halbig said.

The festival attracts people from across the region to participate, she said.

“Our kids are spreading a message of community support,” said Mercedes Mills, a third-grade teacher at Bristow Elementary School. 

Mills said he’s excited for the competition.

“Western’s big on civic engagement,” he said. “Festival of Sand helps Kids on the Block, which helps grade schools.”

Mills has been involved with the festival since 2001. 

He said he has also helped with several other sand sculpture competitions, such as one at the Nebraska Children’s Home called Sand in the City.

Bristow Elementary started participating in the festival last year after a volunteer offered to sponsor their team.

The school’s recent move to a different location this year has been the inspiration for the team’s piece.

For their sculpture, the team plans to sculpt a bear and one of Kids on the Block’s mascots building a school together, sixth-grade student Ty Colson said.

“It will have pictures of the old school and new school on it,” he said.