SIKESTON-Ste. Genevieve High School, Oak Ridge High School and Chaffee High School finished MoDOT's seventh annual bridge competition on top. The competition sought to test the students' engineering skills as they designed and constructed the most efficient model bridge-the lightest bridge to carry the greatest load.
After nearly 250 bridges were tested, prizes were awarded for the schools that competed the best overall-with $1,000 in prize money donated by Sen. Jason Crowell, Ste. Genevieve High School's teacher Anthony Eubanks accepted a trophy and a $500 check for first place; Oak Ridge High School's teacher Mark Gihring accepted a trophy and a $300 check for placing second; and Chaffee High School's teacher Jaron McMurry accepted a trophy and a $200 check for coming in third. In addition to the cash prizes, Representative Jo Ann Emerson also donated flags (that were flown over the U.S. Capitol Building) to the top three schools.
"We've had so many teachers really get involved in the competition and use it as a way to teach elements of engineering to their students and educate them about the design process, that we wanted a way to reward the schools for their efforts in promoting civil engineering," said Traffic Engineer Craig Compas. "We're appreciative that Sen. Crowell's and Rep. Emerson's generosity made that possible."
In addition, medals were given to the top three students, from the top three high schools. Ste. Genevieve High School's top scoring students included Aaron Roth, Greg Thomas and Michael Dickens. Oak Ridge High School's top three students were Dakota Oehl, Brandon Rhyne and Ethan Siemer. And Chaffee's top three included Michael Schmitt, Brittany Brewer and Tyler Musgrave.
Other awards included the "most aesthetic" bridge, given to Joshua Tilmon of Delta C-7; and the computer-based electronic bridge award given to Skyler Simpson of Chaffee.
Prize donations and supply sponsorships were made possible by the following businesses and organizations: Senator Jason Crowell, Representative Jo Ann Emerson, Cape West 14 Cine, Three Rivers Community College, Cape Area Engineers Club, Southeast Physics & Engineering Club, Target, Sam's Club, Staples, Best Buy, Kirlin's Hallmark of Cape Girardeau, Hobby Lobby, Rhodes Convenience Stores, CiCi's Pizza, McDonald's, Burger King and Popeyes/Drury of Cape Girardeau, Dairy Queen, Dominos Pizza, Subway, Panera Bread Company, Coca Cola, St. Louis Wacky Warriors Paintball Store, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety.
In addition to all the cash prizes and awards, MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou), and Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, to offer seniors interested in civil engineering up to nearly $10,000 worth of civil engineering scholarships.
"We really want to foster an interest in civil engineering with the competition," said Senior Highway Designer Anita Clark. "The event started as a way to get students in Southeast Missouri interested in engineering, help them with their education, and hopefully have them working in the field someday-possibly even with MoDOT. That opportunity wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of the businesses and organizations that help us make it happen each year-and to them, we are extremely grateful."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety was also on-hand with the Seat Belt Convincer (a ride that simulates how it feels to be in a 5-MPH traffic crash) during the competition, to impact the high school students with the importance of buckling-up.