Thursday, November 10, 2011

OSA Lego Model garners sweepstakes

John and Brandon Olsen made a replica of the Oneida Stake Academy and brought home the sweepstakes ribbon from the Franklin County Fair in August 2011.

Their replica contained fund-raising details. The twins hope to see the building restored soon.

            A trip through the Oneida Stake Academy inspired 13-year-old Olsen twins to build a model from Legos of the historical building for the Franklin County Fair. Complete with miniature signs inviting the public to support the restoration of the academy the model won the boys a sweepstakes ribbon at the fair.
            John and Brandon Olsen “love history,” said their mother, Cherise. Instead of playing video games like a lot of kids their age, the boys are often found looking for history on things like the old Sugar Factory in Whitney.
            In fact, she discovered, the brothers spent nearly every day of summer in the Relic Hall on Franklin’s main street.
            “They would come home and tell me things they found out, especially about their ancestors,” she said. Both the boys’ parents appreciate the value of knowing history, as well.
            “You need to know where you’ve been to know where you are going,” she said. Her husband, Tracy, was involved in the restoration of the old jail in Franklin several years ago.
            Then when the brothers found out that the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) was giving tours of the building over That Famous Preston Night Rodeo weekend, they started pestering their dad to go.
            While there, they discovered their father’s name among hundred of others scrawled inside the building’s attic and bell tower. “Tracy had forgotten about it,” said Cherise.
            That night, John pulled out his stash of Legos, and started building the Oneida Stake Academy. When he ran out of Legos, he solicited Brandon’s help, and his Lego stash, and together, they continued. When their combined collection of Legos ran out, their cousin, Mark Nate, agreed to lend his Lego stash to the project. All totaled, there are 1,523 Legos in the model.
            Using the architectural drawings in a brochure on the academy they had collected and images of the building from Google Earth and the OSAF blog, the boys were able to replicate the building’s dimensions correctly. “It’s as close as they could get with what they had,” said their mother.
            “The signs were their idea, too,” she said. “It’s amazing to me to watch them do this. They do better when we don’t help them. We just let them be creative.”
            Since bringing home their model and sweepstakes ribbons, John has built a virtual Lego replica of the academy as well.
            “I don’t know how he knows how to do this,” she said, but her boys “love knowledge” and get involved in many of their own projects. They’ve also built virtual replicas of the sugar factory and the junior high school buildings.
            The boys would like to donate the model to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation, but they need to find a way to replace their cousin’s Legos before they do.
            “If anyone is discarding their old Lego collections, we’d love them,” said Cherice.

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