Delio Gonzalez '24 was mobbed by frenzied fellow juniors after his 21.74 gram matchstick bridge held 41.0 pounds before finally splintering in the Ransom Everglades' 2023 bridge competition. With an efficiency of 909.7, Gonzalez's bridge showed the best combination of size and strength of any of the more than 200 bridges entered in the annual competition, including the 18 finalists tested in front of the entire upper school student body during a raucous event on March 14. Max Wiesenfeld '23, last year's champion, won first and third place in the aesthetic competition.
Gonzalez, an engineering student of Bob DuBard and physics student of Paul Natland '02, topped second-place finisher Victoria Paraoulaki de Miranda '24, whose 24.61 gram bridge held 45.8 pounds for an efficiency rating of 892.1. He also surpassed third-place Christian Gardner '23 (23.11, 41.8, 871.5); fourth-place Martin Piedrahita '24 (19.22, 30.8, 788.2) and fifth-place Esmeralda Swietelsky '24 (23.53, 37.2, 767.2). Swietelsky also finished in fifth place last year.
Sofia Paraoulaki de Miranda '23 earned second place in the aesthetic competition for the second straight year.
Gonzalez and Wiesenfeld were each presented with a 3D-printed trophy designed and printed by DuBard, the engineering teacher and robotics coach who oversees the competition but could not attend the event because of jury duty. As usual, Natland emceed, employing his crowd-pleasing, "Let's get ready to crumble!" intro. He was assisted on the auditorium stage by STEM Department faculty member Luis Felipe.
As rock music played on the auditorium loudspeakers, the 18 finalists bridges were tested individually. As each bridge faced an increasing load, a counter and live leaderboard on a large screen depicted its "place" in the competition, allowing students to see bridges ascend past other bridges as they withstood more weight. Students cheered, screamed and applauded throughout. The bridges, assembled out of basswood sticks, could weigh no more than 25 grams. Students from architecture, physics, engineering and other classes submitted entries, and classroom testing narrowed the field.
At the end, every bridge shattered into pieces.
The other 13 finalists: Ryan Berkshire '23, Sara Berzinji '23, Mia Campbell '25, Ryan Courey '23, Diana Gonzalez '24, June Frankel '23, Jaral Arroyo-Jefferson '25, Victor Labaut '24, Alexandra Leiser '25, Kobe Lopez '23, Daniel Mendelson '25, Harrison Stone '24 and Malena Tewari '23. Trinity Haisch '24received special recognition for submitting a bridge with a drawbridge feature.
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 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.