TOPOCK — The Academy of Building Industries’ gift to Topock Elementary School might be the best — or biggest — given this holiday season.

Last summer, Topock Elementary School’s Student Council issued a YouTube video challenging their high school counterparts to build a gaga ball court for their school.

“It was really adorable,” Jean Thomas, AOBI superintendent, said. “Of course, we had to make a response video to challenge them back.”

Throughout the semester, AOBI students set to work on building the ball pit — with just a small question: what is gaga ball?

Thomas said she hadn’t heard of the sport before the Topock students had challenged them. Gaga ball is similar to dodgeball and is played in an octagonal pit, usually made out of netting or wood. Players try to eliminate one another by hitting each other with a ball at the knees or lower. Premade gaga ball courts can often cost over $1000.

AOBI chose wood for their gaga ball court, and the preliminary design was available for viewing at the school’s open house in October. Carpentry students built the walls of the court, while welding students created the metal plates that connected them all together. Once it was painted, it was off to the elementary school for assembly.

“We love community projects like this because it shows the students how their work can be used in the real world,” Thomas said.

The Topock Student Council joined their high school counterparts in assembling the masterpiece on Tuesday, Dec. 12, which delighted Thomas. She said it was great to see the younger generation expressing interest in craftsmanship.

“This has been an amazing challenge. I’m so happy you guys challenged us and we were able to do this,” Hannah Walker, AOBI student council president, told the Topock students.

And, of course, once the hammers and tools were put away, there was only one thing left to do: play the inaugural game.

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