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Students take the top 22 spots

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Physics teacher Mark Wechter, Cole Bemis and Kate Hollingshead pose following a bridge contest triumph. Riverdale High School students swept the CH2M Hill / OSU High School Bridge Contest last month, taking the top 22 spots in the competition.

Sophomores Cole Bemis and Kate Hollingshead placed first and second, respectively, and will be heading to the international competition May 10 in Chicago. Jody Haagenson, Riverdale School District spokeswoman, said the school also landed first place as a team at the regional contest, held Feb. 22 at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

The other Riverdale High students in the top 10 were: no. 3, Shayna Pauleen; no. 4, Tal Volk; no. 5, Tyler Puterbaugh; no. 6 Rachel Berne; no. 7; Ben Lorimore; no. 8; Hadley Kohnstamm; no. 9 Matous Komers; and no. 10, Mallanie Tellinghusen.

The aim of the contest is to promote interest in engineering and afford high school teachers the chance to help students explore engineering concepts behind the design and testing of structures, Haagenson said.

Students must apply physics principles to construct a strong model bridge of basswood, while adhering to specified dimensions. Winners have the highest efficiency rating, and Haagenson said Bemis and Hollings had bridges with efficiencies that are “the highest in the nation to date.”

Overseeing the contest are professional engineers from CH2M Hill and students in the Oregon State University department of civil, construction and environmental engineering.

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