Engineering a Beloved Christmas Tree

Sometimes, in life, the ends justify the means. Such is the case with the Honors Engineering students’ annual assembly of a Christmas tree in the Upper School library — constructed entirely out of reference books. How this tradition began and why the practice tasks engineering students with the project seem lost to memory. Nonetheless, the final product is appreciated every year, where students attempt to top the previous year’s creation.

“Engineering is about solving real-world challenges,” said Oak Knoll AP Computer Science and Engineering Teacher Irida Ruci. “We are working together to decide on the base, the triangle shape, and gradations in book sizes and widths.” The result may not be rocket science, but participating in a beloved Christmas tradition is the means to a joyful end. 

Students work as scientists, problem solvers, and collaborators to take on the unique challenge of constructing the tree on a small, narrow island in the library. The resulting tree tapers to a point, is adorned with 3-D printed ornaments, and incorporates reference books spanning the Catholic faith, world religions, social sciences, the American Constitution, Supreme Court dramas, and other tomes representing the diverse breadth of knowledge available to students in the Hope Memorial Library. It is truly a tree of knowledge befitting the curiosity of our mighty Oak Knoll students.