Over 400 Lincoln-Way students participate in annual Bridge Building Competition
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

During the second week of December, students at all Lincoln-Way schools began participating in the annual Bridge Building Competition. The contest names the individuals who can best design, construct and test the most efficient bridge within given specifications. Beginning in mid-November, Lincoln-Way students at each grade level were encouraged to participate.

On Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at Lincoln-Way West, over 100 students participated in the Bridge Building Competition.

Taking first place was junior Erin Albert with a bridge efficiency of 1542. The efficiency number indicates that the bridge held one thousand, five hundred, and forty-two times its own weight. Freshman Isabel Tuckett won second place with an efficiency of 1528, followed by junior Asim Williams with an efficiency of 1353, and freshman Ben Radeke with an efficiency of 1198. All four warriors will have the opportunity to advance to the Regional Bridge Building Competition at the Illinois Institute of Technology, planned for Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

Science teacher Chester Szmurlo says, “This year, well over one hundred students completed a truss bridge following rules developed by the International Bridge Building Competition. One of the top bridges held over eighty-eight pounds of load which is incredible considering that the bridge weighed only 26 grams, or the weight of half a Snickers candy bar.”

On Wednesday December 7, 2016 at Lincoln-Way Central, 70 students met after school in the Lincoln-Way Central North Café to test their creations. The majority of students who participated consisted of juniors currently enrolled in a physics course.

The top winners of the Lincoln-Way Central were Jacob Culver in first place with a bridge efficiency of 1278, Molly Cole with a bridge efficiency of 1095, Mason Davis with a bridge efficiency of 1028, and Andrew Folgers with a bridge efficiency of 1014. All four winners may enter to represent Lincoln-Way Central at the regional contest in January.

“Thank you to all who participated,” said Science Department Chair Sarah Highfill. “Thank you to the organization of Mr. Drumheller and Mr. Fazio as well as students in the Engineering Physics class who mentored students, helped run the event, and cleaned up afterwards.”

On Thursday December 16, 2016, at Lincoln-Way East, over 240 participants competed in the bridge competition. Of the entries, 147 were from physics classes, 45 were from engineering physics, 44 were from chemistry, and eight were from teachers.

The top winners from Lincoln-Way East were Jonathan Limp in first place, with a bridge efficiency of 2234. Students who took 2nd through 4th place were: Jason Szara (2189 efficiency), Gehrig Batson (1900 efficiency), and Lexi Filafusi (1804 efficiency). These four students are also entitled to represent Lincoln-Way East at the regional contest.

“I was very impressed with the quality of the bridges and the number of bridges entered into the competition,” said teacher Michael Murphy. “It is great to see the students work on projects outside of the classroom that relate to topics learned in the classroom…I think the most rewarding part of this project is to hear the students talk the next day about what they could do differently next year to increase the efficiency of their bridges. It seems that this project sparks the creativity and fosters hard work.”