Negaunee bridge builders continue doing area proud

Regular Mining Journal readers know that this space in the past has been used, proudly, we might add, to underscore the outstanding accomplishments of area young people.

Sometimes, those accomplishments have been athletic and on other occasions, academic.

This time, it’s something a bit different but still rates as a significant accomplishment.

The Negaunee High School bridge builders won the 11th-12th grade division of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Bridge Challenge competition earlier this month in Seattle, a recent Mining Journal story detailed.

The Michigan Department of Transportation states that for the 10th year in a row, the team from Negaunee High School, advised by Kevin Bell, won the 11th-12th grade division of the national bridge challenge in 2019.

That was the last time this contest was held in person before this year’s event.

Here’s now the competition works. Eighteen squads competed in the national finals this year, selected from a pool of 86 portfolios. The competition has five phases: using software to design a bridge, building a physical bridge model using glue and balsa wood from prepackaged kits, developing a portfolio, making a presentation in front of a panel of judges, and destructive testing of the bridge models to calculate the strength-to-weight ratios.

Negaunee team members are seniors Rylan Hemmila, Thomas McCollum and Phil Nelson. The team name is the 906 Bridge Co. Their bridge weighed just 39 grams but held up 266 pounds.

Wow. Pretty amazing. We congratulate these young people on an outstanding job.


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