Skip to content

Busted! Here are the district's best young bridge builders (video)

SooToday cameras were there as the annual Sault College Bridge Building Competition took place today

It's a ritual that stretches back decades.

Equipped with nothing but glue, a stack of eight fragile balsa wood sticks and their own ingenuity, students from across Algoma District carefully design and assemble the strongest and lightest bridges they can think of.

Then the grown-ups over at Sault College bust 'em. Carefully and methodically, of course.

This year was no different, and without further ado, the following is the text of a news release from Sault College announcing the top-three young engineers in each category:

SAULT STE. MARIE - Today, Sault College, in collaboration with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and the Ontario Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), held its annual Bridge Building Competition offering an experiential learning opportunity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This year’s competition drew over 300 balsa wood bridges from students from grades 4-12, as well as younger and older entries through the open category.

Students designed, created, and submitted the balsa wood bridge of their choice and competed against their fellow classmates for prizes and bragging rights. The event was livestreamed to all participating classrooms.

“Each year we have noticed the growing popularity of this event, and this year was no exception,” said Marc Pilon, P.Eng – Professor/Coordinator of the Civil Engineering and Construction at Sault College. “Balsa wood kits sold out in less than 12 hours this year and we received some very impressive bridges. We appreciate all the classrooms that participated, and hope students enjoyed this engaging, hands-on STEM activity,” Pilon added. 

Students who place top 10 in each category are awarded a cash prize ranging from $200 for first place to $20 for tenth. Bridges were scored based on a load to weight ratio to encourage students to use their materials efficiently.

Congratulations to the top three finishers of each category for the 2024 Bridge Building Competition:

Grade 4/5:

1st : Payton Levesque, Tarentorus Public School

2nd: Abby Ricica, Blind River Public School

3rd: Nate Vine, Hunter Torkok, Thessalon Public School

Grade 6-8:

1st: Sawyer Mason, Tarentorus Public School

2nd: Matthew Kresin, Korah Collegiate & Vocational School

3rd: Gianluca Gioia, Barrett Maracie, Korah Collegiate & Vocational School

Grade 9-12:

1st: Leah Biemann, St. Mary’s College

2nd: Shawn Gilbert, Michipicoten High School

3rd: Grace Hubbard, Michipicoten High School

Further prizes were also awarded:

Construction Award: Aubrey McColman and Hillary-Anne Scheepmaker, Grade 5, Thessalon Public School

Engineering Award: Dean MacMillan, Grade 10, Korah Collegiate & Vocational School

Architecture Award: Matthew Kresin, Grade 7, Korah Collegiate & Vocational School

“The success of this event is largely due to the dedicated efforts of our staff and student volunteers from Sault College, Professional Engineers Ontario, and the Ontario Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists,” added Marc. “Their collective support has made it possible for us to offer another fantastic STEM activity to students in the area. We truly appreciate their ongoing contributions."

To meet the unprecedented demand in the construction and engineering industry, Sault College offers learning opportunities in Civil Engineering Technology (Co-op), Construction Techniques, as well as Construction Project Management to support students interests in this exciting career. For more information, visit Engineering Technology | Sault College.

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.