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SAC takes 10th IBS Build-A-Bridge Challenge

Used 124 sticks to create structure that held 252 pounds
  • St. Augustine’s College’s winning IBS (Integrated Building Services) Build-A-Bridge Challenge team with the squad’s winning design. They used 124 sticks to build a bridge that held 252 pounds to win the 10th title. The maximum sticks they could have used was 125 sticks. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Published: May 22, 2017

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Jared Nurse, Sherina Abdool, Gaberille Kelson, Tyrone Perpall and Raymond Oriakhi comprised the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) squad, which, for the second consecutive year, took home the win at the IBS (Integrated Building Services) Build-A-Bridge Challenge.

The SAC team, led by Nurse and Abdool, two members from last year’s winning squad, re-engineered their bridge from 2016 to claim the 10th title. Their bridge this year was built with 124 sticks of the maximum 125 sticks they were able to use and held up 252 pounds for the win.

“We won through a process of re-engineering,” said the squad’s guide, Wesley Clarke, a senior school physics and math teacher. “We looked at where we had failed over the years and corrected that. We were able to do that because the organizers allowed us to use more sticks than previously. We started out using 100 sticks, and our lines of fault we were able to correct by using more sticks this time around.”

The teacher said his team got the job done. The bridge design was completely the work of the students and he had no input, other than to oversee their progress from mid-January through to the recent competition.

“The work was purely on the students,” said Clarke. “I was extremely pleased with the win. We won last year with that same design. The previous year we were using a different design and got a number of seconds, one third, one fifth and a seventh with the previous design. Since we re-engineered we won twice with the same design.”

Anatol Rodgers’ team was second, and St. Anne’s School’s team was third. The challenge, which this year was themed “Can Your Bridge Handle the Load?”, not only helps students to develop interest in engineering and applied sciences, but also teaches discipline and determination to face life’s challenges, according to IBS officials, of which Nick Dean is principal.

“It helps the guys who are engineering inclined to be critical thinkers,” said Clarke. “They are given a scenario — 125 sticks and told to build a bridge, and have to come up with their own design. As an engineer, it allows you to think, and think positively. Engineering is three-fold — engineering, re-engineering and problem-solving. Those three areas are what they need to be good engineers, so it allows them to think; it allows them to be creative and allows them to go back and solve the problem when they encounter those.”

He said competitions of that nature also allow for students to be more focused and to realize that, in life, they will be faced with challenges, and that is when they should get down to business and do their best.


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