Tupelo students dominate national bridge-building contest

Floating Bridge category
First place – Jace King, Carleigh Ballard and Mikhail Garlean (Fabriperitus)
Third place – Adam Cox, Lexie Smith and Ryan Reyonlds (THS Bridge Builders)
Lift Bridge category
First place – Lauren Pugh, Colton Fremont and Ashton Huey (Team Alpha)
Second place – Emily Hall, Serena Khiantani and Hannah Farmer (SHE Builders)
Third place – Tyler Fields, Matt Earwood and Abby Hunt (Golden Wave Runners)
bridge building cutline
Three teams of eighth-graders from Tupelo Middle School and two teams of freshmen from Tupelo High School participated last week in the national bridge-building competition in Bedford Springs, Pa.

TUPELO – Two teams of Tupelo students placed first in a national bridge-building competition last week in Pennsylvania, while one ranked second and two others won third.
“This is just the icing on the cake,” said Talina Knight, a Tupelo Middle School English teacher who co-sponsors the bridge project with math teacher Connie Gusmus.
Working with engineers from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, students spent hours designing and building bridges of balsa wood and craft sticks.
The projects are part of a program called TRAC, or Transportation and Civil Engineering, that’s affiliated with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
AASHTO sponsors the national contest, which TMS teams have done well in now for four years.
“Out of all the portfolios that are submitted each year, they choose three teams for each bridge type – drawbridge, floating and suspension – so the teams that are invited already are the top in the nation,” Knight said. “It sends a clear message.”
AASHTO invited nine teams, she said. Three teams of eighth-graders from TMS were selected as were two teams of freshmen from Tupelo High School. Other teams were from Michigan and New Hampshire.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Lauren Pugh, a member of Team Alpha along with eighth-graders Colton Fremont and Ashton Huey. They won first place in the Lift Bridge category, with each earning a $500 savings bond.
“We’ll put it in the bank,” Pugh said. “We’re really excited and proud of our accomplishment.”
TMS Principal Linda Clifton said the future is sewn up for the young bridge builders.
“Basically, these kids can do anything they want to do,” she said. “I think some of them will be engineers and some of them will be doctors. They are so bright.”
Contact Ginny Miller at (662) 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com.


Ginny Miller/NEMS Daily Journal

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