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Parma Senior High Engineering Students Finish First in Local Competition


Students in the Parma Senior Engineering Physics class, taught by William Jeckel, showcased their creativity during the Balsa Wood Bridge Competition at Case Western Reserve University.

The bridges were graded in three categories – structural performance, aesthetics, and overall design. Out of 134 bridges entered into the competition, Parma students took places 1-4 in the aesthetics category. Three bridges placed in the top 10 in structural performance and four bridges were in the top 11 overall combined score. 

Seniors Winner Mansu and Ricky Knoblock were the first place finishers in the aesthetics category. 

“It was a great experience to know that something we’ve been working on the past few weeks, to see it into fruition and to see us go up against other great schools that were working on this project,” Mansu said.

“Even amongst as a class we were saying ‘Who is going to dominate this field? Who is going to do well is this category?’ To know we took that and went to represent Parma, it was great to know that we did well.”

Other schools that Parma faced included St. Edward, Lake Ridge Academy, GlenOak, Normandy, and Valley Forge.

Mansu said creating a well-built bridge along with making it look aesthetically pleasing didn’t come easy.

“There was some calculations involved. You had to know, especially with the arches, you had to make sure that they were touching the very tip of the bridge to make sure it can hold its maximum weight. We repeatedly had to reconstruct some arches because we messed up a couple of times,” Mansu said.

Jeckel, who has taught the course since 2003, stated the classes he had in the past have faced great schools at the Balsa Wood Bridge Competition and have fared well. Jeckel had a good feeling that his current class would be just as successful.

“I told them we have to put everything into this. I thought they would do well,” Jeckel said. To go in and to do as well as we did, I was very proud and very pleased with these kids. They put a lot of time and effort into it.”