16 Mahoning Valley schools compete in bridge-building event
By Denise Dick
Aspiring engineers LaRazia Tolbert, Olivia Atkinson and Raven Revere divided the chores in the building of their entry in the Mahoning Valley Bridge Building Competition.
LaRazia and Olivia each constructed a side while Raven worked on the bridge bed. The sophomores from Chaney High School’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program were among the teams from 16 Mahoning Valley high schools competing Friday in the contest at Youngstown State University. It was presented by YSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Mahoning and Trumbull county engineer’s offices.
Teams have three hours to build a 12-inch-long balsa-wood bridge. Anna Gasser of MS Consultants said the idea is to build a lightweight bridge capable of withstanding heavy weight.
“That’s efficiency,” she said.
This marks the seventh year of the competition aimed at exposing students to the engineering field.
“A lot of students don’t really know a lot about it,” Gasser said.
Bridges are judged on design criteria and weights attached until the structure breaks. The winning bridge is chosen based on meeting design criteria and the most-efficient load-carrying-capacity-to-structure- weight ratio.
Other awards are presented for Best Teamwork, Most Aesthetically Pleasing, Most Weight Carried and Best Teamwork.
LaRazia said students in Chaney’s engineering class had the option to compete in Friday’s competition.
“We all said yes,” she said. “We’re competitive.”
Seniors Britnee Grantz and Nate Cain were two members of Western Reserve High School’s two teams at the contest.
Britnee was assembling lattice work to bolster her team’s bridge capacity.
The teams worked on practice versions as part of physics class.
“We learned from our mistakes,” Britnee said.
For one of those practices, team members didn’t align the bridge arcs properly, she explained, and they didn’t hold.