March 20, 2017

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. (GMC), announced that the Youth Leadership Academy in Pickens, S.C., was the winner of the 2016-17 Can Do Good Competition for the sixth through 12th grade division. This was the school’s second year in a row to win the regional competition.

Through their Can Do Good design this year, the eighth grade students chose to honor the memory of Jacob Hall, the 6-year-old-boy killed in the Townville Elementary School shooting less than an hour away from YLA. When describing the inspiration behind their Can Do Good structure, the students said, “Jacob loved superheroes, so the community showed support by wearing superhero shirts for him. We wanted to continue that support by honoring Jacob in our design. His favorite superhero was Batman, so we decided to do the Batman symbol as our design to honor him.”

The structure featured the Batman symbol with Jacob’s name spelled out across the front and the words “Townville Strong” written across the top of the backdrop.

GMC Regional Vice President Kevin Laird presented the school with a check for $1,000, in addition to a check to United Christian Ministries to match YLA’s donation, at an assembly on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. All in all, YLA donated more than 1,250 cans to the food bank.

YLA was among the top three schools that received the most votes during the online voting portion of the competition, advancing them to the finals. The finalists’ structures were reviewed by members of GMC’s professional architecture and engineering staff and judged based on overall theme, aesthetics, structural soundness, level of difficulty and creativity. Because of superior excellence demonstrated in all five categories, YLA was selected as the winner for the sixth through 12th-grade division.

More than 12,000 canned goods and non-perishable food items were donated to food banks and charitable organizations throughout the Southeast through the regional Can Do Good competition this year. For more information about Can Do Good, visit

About Can Do Good

Can Do Good is a social design-build competition developed by Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. (GMC) to provide students with hands-on learning experience and to teach the importance of giving back to the community. Students organize canned food drives and design and build creative structures using the collected items, which are then donated to a local food bank or charitable organization of their choice. GMC is one of the largest and most comprehensive architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast and is equipped to provide all of the services associated with architecture, engineering, environmental, geotechnical, interior design, landscape, planning, surveying and transportation. 

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