Academics
Experiential Learning

Bridges – and records – shattered during bridge event

Bridges weren’t the only things broken during Ransom Everglades’ always anticipated annual bridge-building competition final round – myriad event records were also shattered in the epic and exciting finale on April 14. As always, the event featured the dramatic destruction of the school’s top bridges to determine the strongest by weight. The theme of the 2021 RE Bridge Competition said it all: "Not even the strongest survive." 

Rafael Dovarganes ’22 emerged as this year's bridge-building champion with his record-breaking bridge. Watch the entire event here.
Dovarganes' 20.58 gram basswood-stick handiwork held 75.6 pounds before busting into pieces; the bridge’s efficiency (1,723.6) and the weight it held were both RE records, according to event emcee and physics teacher Paul Natland ’02. Dovarganes topped second-place finisher Coren O’Brien ’23, whose 18.49 gram bridge held 61.6 pounds and also won the Aesthetic Award, which was determined by a vote of RE students. See full results below.

Dovarganes and O’Brien each received coveted bridge trophies – quite appropriately designed and 3D-printed at the Fernandez STEM Center by engineering teacher Bob DuBard. 

The event, held remotely for the first time because of the pandemic, drew the most entrants ever: 168 students from all four upper school grades submitted bridges. After several weeks of testing, the 12 top bridges reached the April 14 final where they together achieved the highest average efficiency in RE bridge-building finals history.

Natland noted that more bridges than ever – 21 submissions – surpassed 1,000 efficiency. The previous record was 11. Seventy-seven juniors, 65 seniors, 20 sophomores and six freshmen submitted entries. STEM Department faculty members DuBard, Natland, Doug Heller ’80, Luis Felipe and Jay Salon, and architecture teacher Astrid Dalins, assisted with the event. Performing arts department faculty member Quincy Knowles helped with the video production.

To learn more about RE's annual bridge-building competition, watch this video.

Aesthetic Awards
  1. Coren O’Brien ’23
  2. Maddy Bagnall ’21
  3. Maxwell Weisenfeld ’23
2021 Bridge-Building Finalists
(Name, weight of bridge, weight supported, efficiency)
1. Rafael Dovarganes ’22
20.58 grams
75.6 lbs.
1723.6
2. Coren O’Brien ’23
18.49
61.6
1574.9
3. Mimi Angeli ’22
18.94
58.6
1465.7
4. Cherry Handforth ’21
22.9
65.4
1346.9
5. Danny Mendoza ’21
13.5
35
1263.3
6. Maya Rosen ’21
19.91
52.8
1262.1
7. Sebastian Mateu ’21
7.43
18
1257.6
8. Phillip Craft ’22
22.86
57.6
1194.5
9. Danny Jackson ’21
11.29
27
1189.2
10. Livia Hermann ’22
24.33
59.4
1155.9
11. Kerryn Xu ’22
20.67
50
1154.3
12. Harrison Stone '24
11.42
26.2
1143.9
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Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.