Popsicle bridge challenge all set

Organizers hope this year's Sequim Education Foundation engineering challenge won't be a snap.

The foundation's 2010 engineering challenge invites Sequim students from all grade levels to build the best bridge using only popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue.

The event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, when students bring their hand-made creations that will be fastened to a machine that measures each bridge's breaking point.

Bridges with the best "strength factor" win scholarship awards and cash prizes for their creators.

The challenge has 198 students registered, said foundation contest organizer Walter Johnson, a retired engineer.

He said his group bought 45,000 popsicle sticks for the competition and received a 15,000-stick donation from the Sequim Walmart.

About the challenge

This is the second annual SEF engineering challenge. Last year's competition saw more than 140 students building contraptions to help an egg survive a 31-foot drop.

Sequim Education Foundation sponsors the competitions to encourage public school students interested in mathematics and science to consider careers in engineering.

"These contests are great fun for everyone," said foundation president Dick Hughes.

Parents and community members are welcome to attend. The Boys & Girls Club is slated to have refreshments for sale.

Building for bucks
Students compete against their peers in elementary school, middle school or high school.

Scholarship awards are $1,000 for first place in the high school division; $750 for first place and $500 for second place in the middle school group; and $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place in the elementary school competition.

Sequim School District science teachers - David Hasenpflug, Brad Smelcer, Joe Landoni, Carla Morton, Joe Sullivan and Isaac Rapelje and others - have been working with students on construction techniques and the physics of bridge design for the past several weeks.

Event helpers

This year's judges are Harold Anderson and Carrie Graul of Quadra Engineering, Rick Dietzman with Sequim Community Church, Dave Brasher with High Energy Metals, and retired professional engineer Bill Henry.

Contest handlers and data specialists are Patsene Dashiell, Katie Gilles, Brad Griffith, Michelle Grinnell, Lee Lawrence and Bob Leach of NTI in Port Angeles. Stephen Rosales is the event's master of ceremonies.

Sequim Education Foundation is a public charity whose purpose is to inspire public school students to achieve excellence in all that they do, foundation members said.

The foundation provides grants to teachers for classroom projects, academic scholarships and scholarship prizes, and help for needy students.

Donations to SEF can be mailed to P.O. Box 3065, Sequim, WA 98382 or online at www.sequimeducation All donations are tax deductible.

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