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Building a Better Bridge

North Tonawanda students took home 8 of the top 10 awards during the 31th annual ABATE Balsa Wood Bridge Competition at the end of February. This annual event for high school students in the Buffalo area, sponsored by local engineering companies, was held again at Classic V Restaurant in Amherst.
  • First place went to the team of Rory Farkas and Austin Tober.
  • Second place was the team of Matt Slominski and Tyler Slominski
  • Third place was the team of  Chris Labonte and Colby Moultrie.
  • Fourth place went to the team of Allison House, Gaby Schrock and Alex Marchiolo.

There were 68 bridges entered into the contest. North Tonawanda students in grades 9-12 built a creative collection of 18” long balsa wood bridges and competed in a field against their classmates, as well as students from eight other local high schools.  Most of the students worked in groups of 3 or 4 per bridge.

The balsa wood bridges varied in design from very light “spaghetti” bridges to heavy beam styled structures. The scores of each bridge are determined by an efficiency rating of how much it holds to how much the bridge weighs along with a complexity, engineering and craftsmanship score.