J.C. Finlay and the team of Sofia Lima, Bailey Oberdorfer and Priyanka Vyas were the top-prize winners of the 2012 spaghetti bridge competition held June 16 at the City Centre Mall, picking up cheques for $125 for building the strongest bridges in their categories.
Finlay was the winner of the Grade 3-5 division, his bridge holding a total of 5.65 kilograms, with Kiearra Oxford and Kaitlynn Brooklyn finishing second and Kelsie Paulic and Karisma Vyas third. Their bridges held 4.84 and 3.75 kilograms, respectively.
Lima, Oberdorfer and Priyanka Vyas won the Grade 6-8 category, beating out the runner-up team of Garrett Szeremley, Matthew Barnowich and Michael Robinson and the third-place finishers Matthew McKay, Tristen Lavallee and Daniel Paiva. The winners' bridge held 10.16 kilograms, while the second- and third-place entries held 5.56 and 5.53 kilograms.
The second- and third-place finishers in each division receive $75 and $50, respectively.
Put on by Vale, Hatch and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM), the contest was open to all students from Grade 3 to 8 with the challenge being to construct the strongest bridge possible out of 300 grams of dry spaghetti noodles and up to 125 millilitres of white glue. The bridges were tested using a special apparatus and could be 32 to 40 centimetres long, up to 15 centimetres high and 6.5 to 14 centimetres wide.
"The purpose of this competition was to promote careers in engineering and science by engaging students in a friendly design competition," said Nikhil Handa, an electrical engineer-in-training with Central Engineering at Vale and one of the competition organizers. "Eighty-two students participated in this competition and 29 bridges were destroyed."
The organizers drummed up interest in the competition, which was free to enter, by giving presentations at all the elementary schools in Thompson that introduced engineering and the contest rules to students in a fun and easy way.
"Spaghetti bridge building is very rich in opportunities to achieve science outcomes for all the students," said Handa.
The competition is not new, Vale's manager of corporate affairs for Manitoba Ryan Land told participants and spectators before the prizes were awarded.
"I don't know how many years ago we would have had the last one here but it's something that was talked about and it really was an early conversation I had with Nik, who came to my office and said, 'You know, I'd really like to see us start this again,' and I just said, 'Well, how can we help?' basically. It's great to see the level of participation. "
Testing was conducted and prize handed out at the City Centre Mall. Following the contest, Vale donated 22 packages of spaghetti to the food bank and homeless shelter.