Return to Headlines

Brewster’s Bridge Building Competition Tradition Continues

students react to adding weight to bridge

At the end of February, Brewster High School’s Engineering Club held its annual Bridge Building Competition. Forty-six students from CV Starr and Henry H. Wells Middle School participated individually or in groups of two or three, competing to construct the bridge that held the highest number of pounds per gram.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Ed Schmidt, engineering club advisor and Brewster High School teacher. “There was a great turnout.” 

The competition has been a Brewster Central School District tradition for almost 15 years now.

“This was initially founded by the Brewster Education Foundation,” said Schmidt. “They gave us the seed money about 15 years ago. It’s been running just about every year, minus a year or two.”

This year, first place winners were crowned for both CV Starr and Wells. At CV Starr, Jack Farrell and Daniel Krupenye took the first place prize. Their 56.84 gram bridge held 105 pounds for a score of 1.85 pounds per gram. At Wells, the winner was Giana Bella Kusterer. Her 165.54 gram bridge held 312.5 pounds for a score of 1.89 pounds per gram.

“The goal is to get kids interested in building things,” said Schmidt. “Get them away from video games. They’re all great at building stuff on Minecraft, but now actually put something together for real. It also gives them some exposure to high school kids and the high school environment.”

The event would not have been possible without the initial Brewster Education Foundation grant and a lot of help. Aside from Schmidt, Kirsten Rusinko from Wells and Meghan Johnston from CV Starr were on hand and engineering club students Christopher Blandino, Aidan Carvajal, Nico Kusterer and Daniel Mullan all helped. The PTA provided snacks and there were plenty of parents there, cheering for the students.

“It was really a great event,” said Liz Brillón, Giana Bella’s mom. “It was very engaging for students and parents! Mr. Schmidt is an amazing teacher and an asset to BHS.”

Schmidt loved to see students use their critical thinking skills and perseverance during the competition.

“You never know what light you turn on,” he said. “Those kids are going to come up through the years having done this and hopefully when they’re here in the high school, they’re going to be interested in engineering. Or they’re going to want to join a club or get involved in makerspace or Project Lead the Way.”

Bridge Building Competition group

photos by Peter Krupenye