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Brewster Students Get Creative with Cardboard

Brewster student Emily Sullivan shows off her project.
Brewster student Emily Sullivan shows off her project.
Fourth-graders in Frank LaMorte's class at C.V. Starr Intermediate School in Southeast used their imaginations—along with some household items—to build their own arcade games. They played with and tested the games on a recent afternoon.

The assignment was to follow the lead of Caine Monroy. Monroy spent one summer break at his father's auto parts store, crafting intricate games from cardboard and waiting for customers.

Now known around the globe as Caine's Arcade, the project has inspired other children to nurture their own innovative spirits.

"What they're learning is that you don't need to have electricity or fancy games to have fun," LaMorte said. 

Students made the games at home. Some enlisted help from parents, which LaMorte sees as a good thing.

"With busy schedules, it's challenging to find time to work together," he said.

The youngsters brought the finished products to class Thursday. They chatted eagerly, explaining to one another how the games worked. It was a "little break from the rigorous curriculum" they are used to, according to their teacher.

"I like designing stuff, and I'm good with cardboard and coloring," Emily Sullivan said. Her project was a "popcorn" style game, where players tried to catch small items using a ruler with a box attached to one end. Winners were far and few between.

Luke Pratley's game proved challenging, too. The goal is to pop a ping pong ball—shot by pulling a pencil that's connected to a spring—into one of several holes. He and his father painted the frame black with blue accents.

"I thought it was going to be easier, but it was tough," Pratley said between customers. But the hard work paid off. "A lot of kids like it."

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