Grade 7 students at Rutherford Elementary School just missed out on a top-three finish at the Skills Canada B.C. competition in April. Pictured are Fraser Dawes, left, teacher Chad Jobe, Stewart Vandermast and Moustafa Alsaady. (KARL YU photo)

Nanaimo school district students show skills in building bridges

Rutherford Elementary School Grade 7 students compete at Skills Canada competition

Grade 7 students from Rutherford Elementary School showed they were able to run with high school students at Skills Canada B.C.’s spaghetti bridge-building competition in April.

The competition saw elementary, high school and university students competing in different competitions and showcased trades and technology skills. Participants in the junior skills competition were required to build a bridge with spaghetti and hot glue that had to hold a one-kilogram weight for a minute.

Rutherford students just missed out on the top three, finishing fourth overall, but first among Grade 7s, said Stewart Vandermast, a Rutherford Grade 7 student. Vandermast said all the teams that finished ahead of his team had Grade 9 students.

The students used lessons learned both in and out of the classroom, which helped the team perform better.

“Teamwork was a big part,” said Fraser Dawes, another Rutherford Grade 7 student. “We had to learn how to work together that was a huge part.”

“We had to use a lot of math to get the right lengths for the supports and how much we were using,” said Vandermast.

Chad Jobe, Grade 7 teacher, said the competition is really about concept and design theory.

“The kids are introduced to some fundamental design concepts and then what they do is they’ll come up with their own ideas about stress points and spans,” said Jobe.

Other school district students partaking in the competition were Dover Bay Secondary’s Jay Panchal and Jared Houghton (3D Animation), Taylor Olsen from Nanaimo District Secondary (cabinet making), Reid Della-Rosa from the career technical centre (carpentry), Hailey Urbanoski from Wellington Secondary (fashion technology), Jesse Miller from Dover Bay (graphic design) and Owen Yarocki, career technical centre student (welding).

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