Bridge Building Team Breaks State Record

SJA students with their bridge
April 9, 2018

A team of students from SJA’s Civil Engineering and Architecture class built a bridge that held 1,647 pounds of pressure to set a new competition record at the 4th Annual Vermont Tech High School Bridge Building Competition. The team included Haylee Crown ’18, Alexander Gingue ’19, Rebecca Robertson ’19, and George Sanders Lopez ’18, and also placed first in Team Spirit.

Vermont Technical College described the event in a press release: “One hundred and twenty-seven high-school students from 17 schools cheered as their bridges collapsed under weight applied from the electronic crusher nicknamed “The Gordonator” during Vermont Tech Randolph Center’s fourth annual Bridge Building Competition on March 23rd. Each bridge had to adhere to specific size dimensions. Competition rules limited each team’s building materials to Popsicle sticks, tooth picks, glue, and dental floss. Bridges were judged on aesthetics and design originality, presentation, load-carrying capacity, strength-to-weight ratio and predicted failure point.”


Two other Academy teams participated and included the following students respectively: Kristian Baird ’18, Simon Cerqueira ’18, Ethan Devereaux ’18, Jack Moran ’18, and Aldiyar Myrkhalykov ’18; Mackenna Cole ’18; Thomas Emery ’18; Garrison Gumbs ’18; Taylor Sartwell ’19; and Simon Tussie Bissu ’19.


SJA faculty Cristin Ashmankas, who teaches the Civil Engineering and Architecture class and coached the teams at the event, said, “The students chose as a class to take on the challenge of building these bridges. They learned about bridge types and structural integrity, devoted weeks to design and construction, used thousands of popsicle sticks and gallons of glue. In the end though, the greatest thing to me as a teacher is seeing them work as teams, cheering each other on, and standing in front of judges as professionals in their field, providing confident, accurate, and professional answers to each of their questions. While I am wildly proud of Rebecca, Alex, Haylee, and George for setting a new state record and taking home a first place in Team Spirit, all of the Academy student participants come out stronger for the experience. I am thankful to VTC and VTrans for providing this authentic learning opportunity.”

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