DCHS students win awards at DelDOT bridge design competition


On Wednesday, May 1, Delmarva Christian High School physical science teacher Tiffany Haley and her ninth-grade physical science students traveled to Woodside to participate in DelDOT’s Second Annual Delaware Bridge Design Competition. Later that afternoon, they returned with both second- and third-place awards — the largest number of awards for any one school competing.

The winning DCHS teams were The Ship, which included Isabelle Donihue, Gavin Catron and SarahAnne Smith, with second place, and the DCHS team of freshmen Noah Culver, Aaron Brown and Michael Hart, which earned third place.

“I am happy that they placed,” said Haley, “but even more importantly, I am pleased that they learned something whether that was a professional skill or a scientific one.”

The aim of DelDOT’s hands-on design competition is to engage students in the areas of math, science, technology and engineering by addressing a real-world problem. This year’s objective was for students to design and build balsa wood tied-arch (bowstring) bridges that used the least amount of materials and yet would support a desired load.

In addition to designing and building bridges, students were also required to create and submit a report portfolio. The report portfolio had to communicate the students’ analysis and design process, as well as provide a CAD-generated drawing of their design.

Finally, on competition day, with the bridge and portfolio completed and on display, a member of each team had to give an oral presentation on their team’s bridge while judges checked for competition rule compliance. Bridges were also weighed and tested for strength.

“The competition is open to student teams across Delaware,” continued Haley. “DCHS participated in the ninth- through 10th-grade level segment, although only our ninth graders — who are currently studying physic concepts in their physical science classes — competed.”

Delmarva Christian was represented by 40 freshmen students, making up a total of 12 teams, entering the competition. In all, 72 teams comprising 230 students from 25 schools throughout Delaware competed.

First-place winners received a first-place school plaque, a gold Wally the Work Zone Warrior trophy for each student and $900 for the team. Second-place winners received a second-place school plaque, silver Wally the Work Zone Warrior trophies for each student and $750 for the team. Third-place winners received third-place school plaques, bronze Wally the Work Zone Warrior trophies for each student and $600 for the team.

In addition to receiving trophies for their winning entries, the two winning three-member DCHS teams received monetary awards totaling $1,350 that will be distributed to the student team members.

The competition was supported by the DelDOT Civil Rights, the Delaware Contractor’s Association, the American Society of Highway Engineers Delaware Section, the American Society of Civil Engineers Delaware Section and the American Council of Engineering Companies Delaware Section.

Delmarva Christian Schools offers non-denominational, Christ-centered educational opportunities to students from pre-K through 12th grade. The mission of Delmarva Christian Schools is “to proclaim the gospel by preparing students spiritually, academically and physically to know and do God’s will in their lives.” For more information about Delmarva Christian High School, call (302) 856-4040 or visit www.delmarvachristian.org.